Ben is your typical high school kid on his way to school one morning when his whole world changes because of zombies! If you have been wondering how zombies, the demon realm and dragons might all interact, you will find out in Dragon Guard. Teens especially will love Dragon Guard because events proceed in unexpected ways. It is exciting because there is romance, dragons, and a good amount of zombie destruction. Teenage life can be like that. The teenagers, Ben and Andi (nickname for Alexandria), are very independent. They know when to listen to their parents, but they also know when they must act on their own. They like each other but soon find out they must share a magical bond if they want to fight demons. How cool is that? Dragon Guard will grab you from the start and take you on an exciting page turning adventure. The details in Mr. Krause’s books always seem to contain hidden secrets, as if maybe he is a master of this sort of knowledge. I don’t know if this is the case, and I am sure he would deny it, but read Dragon Guard, and his other books, Ghost Betweens and Way Over the Line, and see for yourself what hidden knowledge lies within. Who knows, maybe one day you might end up as a dragon guard! Dragon Guard is an extremely enjoyable read. It is perfect for teenagers and for people of all ages who like a good, scary story. I highly recommend it.
Perspective is an entertaining and thought provoking first novel by William Louison. It is not your ordinary thriller. It is exciting and dramatic, but it also goes beyond the mere commonplace to involve the reader in an existential puzzle. The characters in Perspective have a problem to solve, and I will not give it away, but it requires them to consider each other and their surroundings in a radically different manner. What takes place is similar to a birthing process. The characters must search within themselves to discover who they are, and yet they must look as well to their surroundings, and their fellow group members, to gain their bearings and determine their goals.
This is a fascinating novel and Mr. Louison keeps the reader in high suspense on every page. Each new revelation leads to more questions. The excitement builds steadily with many unexpected twists and turns until the fingernail-biting conclusion. One could well label Perspective a psychological thriller because of the way it explores group cohesion and dynamics. Although there is plenty of action, the truly fascinating aspect of this novel takes place in the dialogue. The different points of view, the subtle and not so subtle manipulations, the strategizing and posturing, all add another fascinating dimension to this suspenseful Science Fiction thriller.
Perspective is a lot of fun to read, even if the faint of heart might be a tad shocked from time to time, and I highly recommend it. As is the case with many eBooks, the formatting could be improved somewhat. However, it did not detract from my enjoyment of this exciting work. I eagerly await more books from this promising young author.
*Beautifully designed cover by William’s brother who is a graphic artist.
The Earth Shifter takes the reader on a world-enriching spiritual journey filled with drama and excitement! Lada Ray, with her keen intuitive sense, has written another impressive thriller. As in her previous thrillers, Gold Train and Stepford USA, Ms. Ray artfully puts the pieces in place, building the suspense steadily until the reader is fully encompassed. In ‘Gold Train’ we were treated to the mystery of the Tsar’s missing gold. In The Earth Shifter we journey back to key moments in Russian history to gain insight into the forces influencing the fate of the Earth today. If you have never been to Russia, let Ms. Ray introduce you to Moscow and Siberia as you have never imagined them. The powerful natural forces of the Russian steppes and the rich historical legacy of Moscow shine in the pages of this thriller providing a unique perspective on the world changes that are taking place around us.
There is an exciting spy component to this book that includes corporate espionage as well as secret government agencies. What do we discover at the top of these stealth organizations? It is not high-tech but rather psychic powers! Remote viewers and shamans are of interest to this power-obsessed community. Will multinational corporations drive the world to a horrible fate, or will spiritual leaders heal the world by using the magic and wisdom of the ancient traditions? Read The Earth Shifter and find out!
Lada writes the characters in The Earth Shifter beautifully. You will feel the excitement as you experience the joys and frustrations of two families destined to bring forces on opposite sides of the globe together. The Earth Shifter has incredible scope. It combines geopolitics, spirituality, cultural depth and, perhaps most of all, the idea that it is the relationships we form, how we treat each other, that is so important to the healing of the planet. I highly recommend this book. It is so much fun to read!
A World Apart is a superbly woven fantasy narrative. It centers on the story of three friends, Demetrius, Eleyna, and Halcyon. These three friends share their dreams when young only to have life take them on voyages they could never have imagined. It is a story of love and friendship. The pirate ship, the Aeonian, is so cool with ten cannons and an eclectic crew. It terrorizes all of Elenchera. There is magic at the edge of the world, which you get to stick your hand into along with the crew of the Aeonian. There are many exciting sword fights, and even a few fights using magic conjured in the palm of the characters’ hands. Details such as a card game called Kings and Jesters, which is so neat I want to play it, but I will definitely not place any bets! There are also many secrets to discover, but perhaps none as great as the real identity of the Black Iris. Oh, and be good in Dove’s Meadow or you might be sentenced to the pit! There are many exciting twists and turns in this tale before the story weaves back around to an impressive conclusion.
A World Apart is not a quick read, certainly, and not a light read, but if you are willing to make the commitment to this wonderful book, you will be rewarded. The story moves well and the prose is written masterfully. The tale unfolds like a grand map of Elenchera, the land in which it is set. You will come to know the characters, rooting for them, hoping they survive, wanting them to be successful in their quests, which are sometimes for redemption and at other times for vengeance.
David Brown’s gritty style of writing fantasy is unique in many ways. There is solidness to his prose, you feel you are treading the dusty path, or finding your balance on the deck of a tossing ship at sea. The action is swift and often surprising. Get ready for your heart to beat rapidly during many scenes! Some scenes might bring forth a tear or two, but never in an exploitive or cheap way. A World Apart is a beautifully crafted story. It progresses on many levels and Mr. Brown does an amazing job of bringing the pieces together. From beginning to end, the reader is part of the journey. You will witness battles and find yourself entwined in the emotional lives of the characters. There is never a dull moment, yet at the same time, the manner in which the characters develop is both insightful and believable.
As a philosopher of sorts, I could not help but notice many subtle observations regarding human nature and motivation. These were worth the read alone! While in the midst of the exciting and mesmerizing text, be sure not to miss them! There are many such gems.
I could not read A World Apart fast because I was enjoying each scene too much. Having completed it, I think it was well worth the read and I highly recommend it. This is great writing with a groundbreaking aspect to its vision. I believe A World Apart is unique in the fantasy genre. Let it sink into your bones, as a pirate, a soldier, or a lover separated by time and circumstance from your one true love.
This is such a great book. I highly recommend it!
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The Hathor Diaries is science fiction at its best. R. H. Zelen uses richly imaginative language to transport you into a post-apocalyptic world filled with danger and excitement. It is post-apocalyptic sci-fi in the style of Philip K. Dick. You will not be disappointed, or bored, by having Amber as your constant companion in this read. She is an extremely cool main character. Amber epitomizes self-reliance and survival, at times vulnerable, but always sexy, smart and daring. One element of this book that totally jumped out and grabbed me is its use of color. R. H. Zelen paints a dazzling post-apocalyptic canvas. This book will leave you with many full color scenes clearly etched in your mind. I cannot think of another book by any author that uses color so impressively to create expressive landscapes and stunning images. Indeed, R. H. Zelen even creates a color-based language that the Fuginoms use to write messages that their colorblind enemies, the Zoids, cannot read. Yet my favorite part of The Hathor Diaries, and I really enjoyed everything about it, are the Leps. I don’t want to spoil the book, but if for no other reason, you should read The Hathor Diaries to meet the Leps. Ren Zelen does a wonderful job creating this horribly wounded, frightening yet noble group of people. The romance in this book is hot as well, yet tasteful, and if you like science fiction that has more than just a cursory amount of romance, and that integrates a sexy and romantic storyline into the main plot, then you will love The Hathor Diaries. R. H. Zelen is a talented writer who knows how to entertain as well as amaze. The Hathor Diaries moves well, transitioning smoothly from one part to the next, and coming to a surprising, yet symbolic and hopeful conclusion. This book would make an excellent movie or even a multi-part made for TV series. If you like sci-fi or just enjoy a thrilling adventure with some hot romance, then you should definitely check out The Hathor Diaries. I highly recommend it!
book review by Jason Sullivan
‘PRETTY LITTLE DEAD THINGS’ by Gary McMahon
Reviewed by Ren Zelen
It’s all a bit bleak. Not that I’m saying that horror stories should be a walk in the park, of course not, but sometimes a little bit of light might not be a bad idea, just for contrast if nothing else.
McMahon’s depressing tale begins initially as a realistically gritty crime novel. ‘Pretty Little Dead Things’ follows Thomas Usher, a man whose life is both ruined and transformed one night when he is involved in a head-on collision in his car. Tragically, his wife and daughter die in the crash, but Usher survives. He emerges with the ability to see the deceased – all kinds of deceased, except, it seems, his own wife and child. Overwhelmed by grief, guilt and depression, he considers his newly acquired ability as a curse. A sense of sorrow and loss inform all his actions, but gradually, with the help of an old flame, he begins to surface out of his despair and begins working as a kind of paranormal private investigator, hoping to help others that have died, if he cannot help his own wife and child.
He investigates the murder of a shady businessman’s daughter and the abduction of a child – two cases that turn out to be linked. As Usher’s backstory and supernatural abilities begin to take precedence over the storyline, so the more occult `horror’ elements begin to dominate the tale – often rather problematically, as here is a story that touches on demonic possession, life after death, the occult, corruption and contrition – but it insistently eschews any religious belief system. It is a story about the devil written for atheists. Well, that’s fair enough, but almost all aspects of our cultural belief in the origin of evil rest on our long-espoused notions of the polarization of right and wrong, god and the devil, angels and demons, bad spirits and good spirits. Whip those away, and your story begins to teeter on precarious and slender support. Here we find demonic entities who aren’t supposed to be demons, there is a possession of one of the characters by something called ‘legion’ but then who are ‘legion’ and what kind of possession is it? It certainly comes across much the same as those we are familiar with in conventional movies and stories of exorcism. There are monstrous humans and non-human monsters, malevolent pan-dimensional beings, maybe Aliens? Ghosts constantly meander around the protagonist Thomas Usher, but fail to impart any actual message – it’s all about his interpretation of their mute and largely ineffectual actions. He states that they are asking his help to ‘move on’ – move on to where? What for? Why? When one denies the cultural and spiritual underpinning of our traditional notions of good and evil and takes it out of the fictional equation, we are left with something rather nebulous and a little bit pointless. The plot touches on the idea of consensus reality and the gaps between worlds, but the ‘bad guys’ seem woefully underdeveloped, and are closer to some amorphous ‘unnameable’ horror that H.P Lovecraft might invoke than malevolent occult disciples in a gory crime thriller.
Then, this murder-mystery-with-ghosts gets a further surreal twist with the inclusion of Eastern European folklore and magical rites. In the story there is a recurring motif from the legend of the Baba Yaga, the witch – her impossible house, without windows and doors, with only a chimney-pot constantly smoking ash. But her house is perched up on four giant, rickety chicken legs. This recurring image seems to be an appropriate symbol for McMahon’s entire story. He most certainly creates a house of horrors – enclosed, confining, sickly and surreal, containing the most hideous images imaginable, but the whole thing rests on some rather weak and precarious legs.
Gary McMahon has been touted as one of the several writers leading a resurgence in British horror fiction. ‘Pretty Little Dead Things’ is apparently the first in a series of Thomas Usher stories, and perhaps the gaps in the tale may indicate that further elaboration is due. Certainly McMahon has a compelling writing style and a talent for evoking a graveyard atmosphere amongst urban decay and squalor. His visceral scenes of bloody bodily horror recall Clive Barker, but despite the dark atmosphere and unnerving tension, this particular tale soon loses itself in a morass of dread and misery, ultimately succumbing to an orgy of corruption which no-one survives – evil for the sake of evil, with no motivation or explanation. I left the book feeling not so much a sense of horror, as one of pessimism and hopelessness.
Copyright R.H. Zelen – ©RenZelen 2012 All rights reserved.
Please visit Ren’s action and information packed blog, Lethal Lexicon. While there you must sample some of her series Pitchfork Red. If you read just a little, you will be hooked. Part Philip K. Dick and part Raymond Chandler, Pitchfork Red will take you on the science fiction ride of your life. Follow @RenZelen on Twitter for the latest tweets on pop culture and gothic horror along with excellent micro poetry. Ren Zelen is the author of the post-apocalyptic novel, The Hathor Diaries, which is available for Kindle. The Hathor Diaries is cutting-edge science fiction that you will absolutely love. Get your copy today! Thank you, Ren, for today’s wonderful article. You are always welcome at Different Outcomes!
*cover graphic copyright Jason Sullivan 2012
Imagine a world without cows. Now imagine a world with hallucinogenic ice cream. You are starting to get the picture of more wacky science fiction adventures from the master herself, Whitney Moore. There is not a surreal absurdity left unturned as Trisha and her companions search desperately for cheese in a bovineless world. From theme hotels, to horses doing the weather, to pies that are either eel or goat, but never cherry, you will experience many laughs in this fun sci-fi novel.
Whenever I read Whitney’s novels I feel like I know these people. The guy who thinks he is a duck, the GPS with an attitude, the time traveling Victorian who harbors a secret, these characters, or at least people a lot like them, have all been in my car at some point! Not since The Young Ones has such a group of unusual but lovable characters sprung to life. As one of the characters, Red Light, would say, “READ THIS BOOK!” It is fast-paced fun that will make you want to gather up a bunch of your friends and go on a serious road trip!
book review by Jason Sullivan
Ghost Betweens is an exciting young adult ghost story. Teenagers that enjoy a scary story and dating romance will really like this book. The author has created a very spooky world on an old abandoned farm. The action moves quickly as the protagonist and his girlfriend race to stop the demon and her ghost minions.
Ghost Betweens is the story of two boyfriend-girlfriend couples in high school. One of the couples, with the aid of a teacher who has studied ghosts, discovers that they have special abilities with regard to ghost hunting. The other couple gets into trouble with the demon. The two main characters, together with their teacher helper, must use their courage and intelligence to act quickly and save their friends. The book comes to an exciting conclusion that I think also contains a good message for teenagers. I highly recommend Ghost Betweens. The story has fun and believable characters, entertaining dialogue, and many scary surprises.
Content note: I would rate Ghost Betweens PG-13 (my unofficial rating) as there is some violence and one adult situation.
book review by Jason Sullivan
For another great young adult book by Eric J. Krause please see my review of Way Over the Line
Bumbling into Body Hair embraces life in all its complexity with humor, sensitivity and determination. It is a must read if you are considering transitioning, interested in social justice, love a good biography, or merely a connoisseur of excellent books that are filled with humor, meaning, and drama. Bumbling into Body Hair will have you laughing page after page. Everett refers to his sense of humor as the “best coping skill ever” and his pithy and ironic insights are hysterical. One of my favorite lines describes a certain professional within a tacky office environment as “an Ewok in a beige galaxy…” That still cracks me up!
Everett is a fantastic writer. His prose is that of a refined and astute observer. His ability to convey the emotional tone as well as the meaning of a situation is right on. You will be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next whether Everett is being pulled through a window by an air conditioner, or daring to ask the socially awkward question, “How exactly do you want these radishes cut?”
Bumbling into Body Hair is also a profoundly psychological and personal book. Everett allows us to join him on his journey of self-discovery so that we may share in his experiences and, perhaps, learn something new along the way. Everett shares with us his feelings of hurt and confusion at the behaviors of a few unbelievably rude individuals. He then sets a brave example of determination as he pushes beyond the prejudices of others to express his own authentic self. Bumbling into Body Hair is entertaining, informative and important. Broaden your perspective by reading Bumbling into Body Hair. I highly recommend it!
*This review is based upon an advance copy of the book.
Book review by Jason Sullivan