Book Review: The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd by Robert Davies

Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: BHC

ISBN: 9781948540919

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: When Evan Morgan’s brother Damon dies suddenly, Evan is shocked to learn he left him an inheritance, leaving him instantly wealthy and the owner of his country farm. Traveling to North Wales seems to be a formality: attend the reading of the will, pick up and dispose of any valuables, and head back home. But everything changes when he arrives in Denbighshire and meets his new neighbor, the alluring and mysterious Aline Lloyd. Suddenly, staying doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, especially since the ancient grounds surrounding his new home feel as if they are calling to him to stay.

Review: To quote a reviewer, “this is a fictional memoir” as seen through the eyes of someone really really boring. Oooh, she has POWERS! and stuff. Yap, yap, yap, yap………cutesy huggums wuvs hims. Yap, yap, yap…..MI5, no 6 is real interested in her.  Yap, yap, yap.  “Are you threatening her!!!!! Boy I oughtta talk you to smithereens!”.

This was as interesting as a dick in a bowl of hot dogs and as much fun as a bag of hammers.  If you like vague dialogue centered around a myopic egalitarian’s perspective, then this books for you.

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Book Review: The 13th Key by Sarah Fisher

 

Publishing Date:April 2019

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9780648182450

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Noah Chord is just an ordinary teenager … or is she? One day, hearing-impaired, budding fashion designer, Noah, is at school; the next she’s saving the world. Not her world though – a place called Talisker, a world woven from music. And it all started when she met that cat!

Review: Some reviews iterated that the plot was wooden and cliched, while another thought that the romance was rushed and the story line a bit boring. The reviews that lend 4-5 stars are not really reviews at all. A publisher and a couple of descriptive reviews that hold no narrative content. .  Where do I sit in all this? Read on!

Noah is speshul. Since she is a reluctant hero, she gets get points for being super speshully. Chase plays her venturesome sidekick along with an Alsatian, which is a snobby way of saying “German Shepherd”, pre-1970.  Rounding out the main characters is the evil and oh so hot and sexy Orville and plodding yet hunky, Emir.

The total immersion into the love Tribangle scene never came to pass and that I am thankful for. The gurl on guy on guy stuff kind of comes out of nowhere and suddenly Noah is blushing and stealing kisses from boys. Huh? Noah runs pretty hot and cold on boys but it becomes a constant theme towards the end of the novel. This forced foray into romance ruins what was once a solid YA fantasy adventure novel.

The story line and world building are a mixed bag. There is an evolving and interesting story that moves in unexpected creative directions. While some of those directions are entertaining, others just don’t mesh well with the overall plot. These disruptions/diversions seek to lend some much needed creative change to a pedantic story line.

While the premise that supports Noah’s lure in the adventure is really weak (fashion show) I had a good time reading this. There was some page flipping in scenes that were being beaten to death and hence the boredom issues with some reviewers is revealed. I think this is geared for the 13 year old crowd that yearns to be 16, but then again, wtf do I know about YA’s.

This really has no right to continue on in a series when the story could have been told in one go. To drag this tired old horse down another rocky path is just cruel.

 

Book Review: The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman

 

Publishing Date: August 2019

Publisher: Angry Robot

ISBN: 9780857668110

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: Throughout human history there have always been sorcerers, once idolised and now exploited for their powers. In Israel, the Sons of Simeon, a group of religious extremists, persecute sorcerers while the government turns a blind eye. After a march for equal rights ends in brutal murder, empath, moodifier and reluctant waiter Reed becomes the next target. While his sorcerous and normie friends seek out his future killers,

Review: Cover art by Illuminati.

Wow this was dumb. Think, “Gay soap opera myopically internalized with feeeeeelings”. Heck, there are no Warlocks, Warlocking around with magic and strife filled  exchanges with moments of ennui.  Just moody gay guys manipulating feeeeelings.

Reed is a whiney, love-addled warbiotch who goes on all these “marches” to protest something that is never adequately defined. My guess is to get equal sorcerer (read in gay) rights?? I am not sure and neither will you be. They get attacked by another group that are labeled “religious extremists” because what would the point be unless you have Christianity as a convenient door mat.

I think the story line is a thinly veiled progressive message that seems to be running on automatic these days. The idea that everyone is bad if they are not on board with progressive rhetoric is absurd and dangerous. End times perhaps??

In this particular instance I reject the message as I do the messenger.

Book Review: Age of Legend by M.J. Sullivan

 

Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Grim Oak

ISBN:9781943363209

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all. With Age of MythAge of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther.

Review: It is interesting, at least to me, how all of the reviews that are 3 stars or less have no written content. Takes me back to the time I was a Beta reader for team Sullivan; when if you are more than honest about the content, you are summarily dismissed. As a lot of effort and time goes into Beta reading any expectations about receiving summary novels in the series are quickly quashed by the lack. Self-centered doesn’t quite describe that behavior but I suck too with having any expectations.

The first in this series was a dismal failure what with Persephone, well, being Persephone and the publisher did not approve any subsequent novels up until this one. Too bad, as this was very good. Not Riryria good but still compelling.  What this author excels at is developing characters over the course of a fast paced story line and even the newly introduced are woven into the mix and imbued with deep character. Very deft writing for sure.

I had a good time reading this despite my personal failures at forgiveness, and this might have received the full 5-star accolade, but there are gaps from the previous novels that needs filling. Perhaps once satisfied, then I can revisit this review with the alacrity it deserves.

Book Review: The Return of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson

 

Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Pilmsthistle

ISBN: 9780988499317

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publisher’s Description: When Lillian, the one and only heir to the throne, is cast out of her kingdom by malevolent forces, she accidentally wanders into the Forest of Forgetfulness, where she is rescued by wolves and raised by an eccentric old wise woman. When she comes of age, she is called by Destiny to return Home. The trouble is, when she steps out of the Forest, she has no memory of who she is or from whence she hails. Undaunted, Lillian sets off into the unknown, determined to discover her long lost self and to reclaim her stolen birthright.

Review:

Me: “This really was written for adults and not 5-8 year old children?”.

Publisher: “Yep”.

Me: “Really? No way”.

Publisher: “Yah, way. Here take a gander at more of our insights into this novel. This allegorical saga celebrates the healing power of art and music, the wisdom of animals, and the majesty of nature. It’s a tale for people who take the road less traveled. People who love fantasy, mythology, metaphysics, and comedy in unexpected places. People who are artists, humanists, feminists, seekers, wanderers, wonderers, misfits and bibliophiles. “.

Yeaaah……I did not get that memo where this fairy tale had any allegorical legs. If you use a story line or character to deliver a broader message about real world issues but your core logic is flawed/mired in an incoherent melange of babbling rhetoric that flits from topic to topic like a bee on acid, then ‘address unknown’ or ‘message undelivered’.

This was like being read a Disney tale by Shirley Temple (pouty baby voice) at a novels length. Try listening to say, someone speaking to you in a pirate accent for a while.   It is at once tedious, irritating and insulting. What was somewhat confusing was Lillian’s constant shifting from cogent English (internal dialogue) to cockney (external). This back and forth-ing of accents compounded the issues along with the lengthy contrived vacuousness.

This novel was not without it’s funny moments (The Judge, Poppy peeing in the well) but they were few. Some stories along her journey were really inventive and quite creative but are minimal in presentation and brief in instance. None of the characters ever develop as they are not supposed to in a fairy tale, especially Lillian whom grows into a woman overnight but retains the perspective of Princess Giselle from Enchanted.

At about the 70% Kindle mark, the novel picks up and resides comfortably in the adult consciousness then dips back into Dumbville towards the end. If you like Disney archetypes, are prone to talking with your mouth full and fart in mixed company, then this is for you.

Book Reivew: Sand Dancer by Trudie Skies

Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Uproar

ISBN:9781949671032

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death. But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…

Review: The cover art is hideous.

This novel had everything I loathe and more. Super speshully main character, and “leering and sneering” bad guys smirking their way across the pages under an Oliver type story line.

Mina is an alley rat whom is not only gifted with powers she doesn’t want but somehow gets into a sword fighting academy disguised as a boy and proceeds to fool everyone of said. Right.  She is slight of build but manages to kick ass against full grown, battle hardened men utilizing her “Sand Dance”. <Sigh>. Which you really have to accept on faith, as the Sand Dance fight scenes are clogged with a visual mirage where, through discernment, you find that nothing makes sense.

The supporting caste either suck outright (i.e.: Snidley Whiplash) or are fairly well built and have some depth despite the limited development time. The world is pleasantly creative and moves in a descriptively robust manner from realm to realm.

At the end of this read the story line is what really elevated my interest. The movement never stops and each turn reveals something new and interesting. Mina grows on you as does her plight and that echoes the talents of a good writer. Well done.

Book Review: Sandcastle at Pirates Beach by D.Edward Williams

 

Publishing Date: June 2019

Publisher: Clovercraft

ISBN:9781948484657

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Rating: 2.7/5

Publisher’s Description: Exciting adventure awaits two cousins when they accidentally stumble upon a hidden magical Sandcastle! Before either boy can say “Treasure Chest,” they are swept into this new world by a mysterious artifact, shrinking them to the size of local sand crabs! Without giving them any time to understand what has happened, a new foe, with his own magical “Object of Power,” launches a sudden attack. To the boy’s surprise and relief, the door of the Sandcastle swings open just in time, revealing an amazing underground world

Review: A whimsical tale about two cousins thrust into a quest of grand design. Every dire near-death situation is quickly remedied with ol’ deus ex and the plot has so much fore shadowing as to wallow in it.

This was written for the teen crowd and I find that a bit of a stretch. The writing platform is built for those without guile, and teens don’t fit that paradigm. There is little room for YA’s to join in a grande adventure that is stretched thin with obvious plot developments and a narrative that calls to a 5 year-old.

The overall story is fun and highly creative and benefits from the constant movement.  The series continues on, so no culmination for you.