Home of authors Holly Hunt & Jophrael L. Avario

Altacia by Tracy M. Joyce – Review



‘Look at her – she’s Hill Clan. Even the Matyrani don’t like them …’

Isaura – little is known about her race, but much is whispered. Born to refugees, she grows up enduring racism and superstition within a community that fears her. She has few friends, and those she treasures. Trapped, she longs for escape to a different life.

Escape is only the beginning of her troubles. Having fled an invading army with her friends, Isaura is faced with heinous choices in order to survive. Secrets from her past emerge to torment her and threaten to destroy all she holds dear. Her struggles forge a bond with an ancient power – a power which may transform or consume her. Old hatreds and superstitions are renewed and at her most vulnerable she learns the true nature of those around her.

Her only hope lies in a foreign land – a land rich in tradition; ruled by three powerful clans. A land with a history marked by warfare; where magic as we know it does not exist. Instead what is here, in abundance, is a more primal power.

Survival carries a high price.

Welcome to Altaica.

My Review:

The story starts slow, but builds up to a strong crescendo, pulling you along on a thrilling journey. While the cliché of a power-hungry son does play out, the way he reacts later is definitely worth the read.  the characters are fully-formed, you don’t need for back story or suffer under the weight of it – you have all the magic and words you need to get you through the story.

The world is definitely one I will have to revisit in the future, and I am looking forward to it. You won’t regret the read.


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April 15, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Comments Off on Altacia by Tracy M. Joyce – Review

The Circle: Book One of The Sidhe by Cindy Cipriano – Review



Calum Ranson is sure of three things: his cousin Finley is alive, Calum will find him, and no one knows Calum and his family are Sidhe. No one until Laurel shows up at his mother’s bookstore wearing a dark clan’s mark.

When Calum learns the details surrounding the disappearance of Laurel’s brother, he suspects the evil Hobayeth clan. Calum and Laurel work together in the Realm of Man and the Otherworld to rescue her brother – revealing a connection between Calum and Laurel that may cost Finley his life.

My Review:

A short story with a great ending, this is definitely a YA book for your teen. The protagonist is 11-12 (not quite sure, but he is going into yr 6 at the beginning of the story). He’s written as a lot more mature, which means that the reader will find it much easier to empathise with him, unlike other YA that just makes the kids seem bratty.

While the ending of the story is a bit predictable if you’ve read as many fantasy books as I have, the journey is still a fun ride, and you’ll enjoy the trip with me.

I recommend you read this (or give it to your kids to read). There doesn’t really seem to be an age restriction on the story, which can only be a plus.


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April 15, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nareen of the Draca by Louisa Kelley – Review


Lusty tales of the Draca continue with Nareen, dragon shape-shifter and Queen of the ancient clan of Draca. Nareen is exhausted. She’s seen the Draca through a year of unprecedented change and redemption. She’s cast the major spells that brought sex and lust in the clan roaring back to life. She’s initiated contact with the human world for the first time in hundreds of years.

She needs a vacation.

And more than that, she’s deeply lonely. Forbidden by the Gods to mate for life until she completes the tasks they have given her, she longs for her share of the lust and love whirling among her kin. What’s a shape-shifting Queen to do?

She communes with the sacred through an erotic dreaming ceremony involving the psychotropic tea, etrian. The answers she receives ignite her — body, mind and soul.
Her dream carries powerful images of a massive, black-winged Draca. Her mate. At long last. However, he lives in the human world. Hidden. Captured and bound by a spell of dark punishment and secrecy.

She must find him. Claim him. Bring him back to the sanctuary. As fast as possible, because Lydia, human daughter of Draca, is due to give birth to the first Draca/human child born in hundreds of years and Nareen’s special powers may be needed more than ever.

Yet, nothing ever goes as planned for the sexy Draca when the mischievous machinations of the Gods are involved… Off-the-charts sex magic, anyone?

My Review:

Who would have thought that dragon-shifters could be so hot? Bringing together my three favourite things into one book –  dragons, shifters and sex – makes for a wonderful, delicious combination. The writing was fluid and graceful, even the erotic moments. There was nothing major to fault except that the story wasn’t long enough. A wonderful read that I do not regret in the least – unlike some of my other dips into Shifter-tales!

A stunning…



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June 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Storm Without End by RJ Blain – Review

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

My Review:

This book was a strong contender for my favourites. The story was strong and compelling, and I finished it in 18 hours. Couldn’t put it down.

The simmering tension between the Danarites and the Kelshites is a good, subtle filter I the back of the story, while the audience travels with Breton and Kalen across a landscape seemingly made entirely of mud and misery.

This is a very exciting book, and I urge every person to read it, and the books after it.


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1. Why didn’t you become a policeman instead of a writer?

This question is really difficult for me. Among the usual job choices of wanting to be a vet, the President, ultra rich, and an Air Force pilot, I did want to become a police officer. But, I was sick as a child, and the illness left me with a significantly weakened circulatory system. I was told early on I wouldn’t pass the physical for pilot or police officer.

That didn’t stop me from trying to become an athlete, but it didn’t work out. My crowning achievement was getting a varsity letter for sports in high school though, but I picked my battles wisely. I played tennis, and my coach exempted me from doing the running portions of practice because I couldn’t handle it. I could handle the bursts across the court, but I couldn’t handle the multi-mile runs he liked to force the team through when we were idiots.

When we did get the punishment runs, I walked them with short bursts of jogging between. At least I wizened up and didn’t try out for track and field! That wasn’t for lack of wanting, though…

Fortunately for me, writing ended up being my top choice anyway. I may not be able to do even a quarter of all of the physical things I want to do, but my characters can, at least!

 2. If you could only tell one story in your life, what would it be?

I’d cheat. Seriously, I would cheat. I would just write the world’s longest story ever,  a novel of a hundred parts, where epic fantasy meets science fiction, meets mystery thriller, and then goes on to become a children’s story about elephants on trampolines. If I had to write one and only one, I’d go insane. I may as well have my single multi-million word ‘novel’ reflect the complete breakdown of my mental wellbeing.

Just one story… eesh. I guess I could almost cheat and just say that I’d write the entire story of the world my first two novels are written. The place has so many stories, and because of how I am juxtaposing the two fantasy series in that world, I could get away with it, sort of.

But really, I’d write the absolute longest story I could.

3. Apples or pears?

Is both really not an answer here? Crap. That’s a problem. I really like both apples and pears. I’m going to have to go with apples. Apples are more versatile when it comes to cooking, and I really enjoy cooking. Cooking is one of my passions when I’m not writing.

But not to leave pears out, it was really hard not to choose pears. When I was growing up, my mother had a huge pear tree. This tree was so massive that we had to use a stick with a fruit catcher attachment to get to the low lying fruit. There was no running outside and just grabbing a pear. You had to use this stick to get the fruit. It was quite a bit of a game for me as a kid. We’d have competitions to see who could get the most pears.

When I grew up a bit, I was able to reach to lowest fruits, but that didn’t stop me from using the long stick to pick pears. It was fun. The pears were always really good, too. I miss that tree. I moved to Canada from the US when I was 18, and the pears here simply don’t compare.

4. Which of your own characters would you like to meet and why?

Lars is the captain of a cavalry unit in a novel I’m currently working on. He has such a strong sense of honor, he’s a little too self-sacrificing, and he’s smart. It doesn’t hurt he’s good looking enough, and he’s kind. What I think I like about him best, though, is that while he is self-sacrificing, and he does have a strong sense of honor, he makes his choices while weighing the value of his life against what he needs to accomplish. He’s the type of guy who would risk getting hit by a car just because there was someone who needed help and he was there.

He doesn’t need a reason to help someone. That sort of character really appeals to me. But, he’s not blindly loyal. If he’s betrayed, he won’t necessarily die just because his king told him to. He’ll try to survive, unless he truly believes his death will save someone — or many someones — that he truly admires or loves.

He’s self-sacrificing within reason, and I like that a lot.

In a way, he is a living contradiction, and that makes him interesting.

 5. How would you like the world to end?

Is it Christmas and no one told me? Oh, man… I love this question so much. I love volcanoes. I have an unhealthy obsession with them. Always have. I find them extremely fascinating, both in terms of their destructive beauty and their role in the Earth’s life cycle.

This is how I’d destroy the Earth… for humans, at least. I mean, that’s what people view as the end of the Earth, right? The wipe out of humanity? The planet has been through asteroid strikes capable of mass killing life. Unless you shatter it to bits, the planet’ll recover in one way or another.

But back to volcanoes. First, I’d have Yellowstone pop its top. The science of Yellowstone is incredible. Should it erupt, a notable chunk of the United States will be gone — boom! — just like that.The mid west would be buried in ash. Considering the current state of the Andreas fault in California, it would likely trigger a series of plate-shifting quakes along the west coast. In my cataclysm, Los Angeles goes for a swim as a result.

Second,Yellowstone has an evil twin sister in Argentina most people don’t know about. Oops. Like the three — yes, three — previous eruptions in the Yellowstone national park region, Argentina’s eruption ranked as a VEI-8. They don’t get any stronger than that.

Two VEI-8 eruptions, described as colossal and as super-eruptions, would definitely end the world as we know it. North and South America would mostly be in ruins. You might have some survival in East Coast USA/Canada. Possibly. Europe would be in trouble from the encroaching Ice Age. If the toxic gasses don’t kill everyone, the snow and ice will, as the planet goes through the motions of resetting itself so new life can come along.

But with so much below-crust activity going on, it would likely trigger stuff in the ring of fire, too.

Because I’m not satisfied with just two VEI-8 super-eruptions, let’s continue the scenario. In my creative efforts to ensure the complete downfall of Earth and life as we know it — or life at all, for most of us, I would add one final VEI-8 eruption.

This is disputed, but this is considered to be The Big One of volcanic eruptions, if it did happen. It makes the three sisters of Yellowstone look like some kid playing with a lava ball. Lake Toba, located in New Zealand, was believed to have wiped out some 60% of the Earth’s population at the time it blew its top.

So there we go. If I could end the world in any fashion, it’d be through fire and brimstone, sulfur, and so many other interesting things. Life as we know it would end, but the Earth would spin on.

 6. Which genre do you wish you could write, and why?

I would write a novel about the eruption of mega calderas. Post-Apocalyptic. I’ll spare you the reasoning why… I think you might be able to guess. (cough, cough… oops.)

7. You’re stuck on an island with only three things: A knife, a match and a stick. What would you do to survive?

It’s a good thing this isn’t a deserted island. I’d go to the nearest settlement, tell the poor guy at the gas station I’d been kidnapped, and that there were crazy people trying to make me play some survivor game, and that I’d really like to go home now.

Okay, to play fair, I’d probably crawl in a hole and die. I’m not very good at survival things. By that, I mean, really not good at it. I’d try to do the basics, like build a shelter, but it would all depend on what I had available If it’s a tropical island, oh man, I’d be okay. Palm fronds for weaving a shelter, since I got the knife to cut the strips. Coconut would be cracked open with rocks and things (because I don’t want to dull my knife.) I’d eventually get the courage to light a fire, once I was certain I could protect it from rain with my brand new nifty frond-roof.

This is, of course, assuming the evil poisonous everythings don’t get me.

Anywhere else? I suspect a land shark would eat me.

 8. Which of the following would you rather have stalking you through the night: A vampire, a werewolf, or Stephen King?

Oh man, that’s like playing Russian roulette knowing you’re going first and there’s only one empty chamber in the round. That’s just not nice.

I guess I would pick the vampire. There’s a chance he’s super hot and sexy, and vampirism better matches my lifestyle. The burning day star already hurts us, precious…

 9. Who is the best villain you’ve ever read, and why?

Oh, geeze. This is an evil question. I’m going to have to go with the villains from the Percy Jackson series. They’re cunning, sneaky, and terrifying. Take Luke, for example. He was entirely likable the entire first book. There were some extremely subtle clues thrown around that he was a bad guy, but I didn’t want to believe it. And his base reasons for turning sour are heartbreaking. It’s got a moral to the story I think parents should take a long, hard look at.

The other villains in the Percy Jackson stories share similar villainous traits. There are quite a few that just took me by complete surprise. And those are the villains I appreciate the most. Villains should always, always be the heroes of their own stories. Else they just feel fake to me, and put into the story to provide something for the protagonist to fight.

The same goes with my protagonists, too — I like them with a hint of darkness, because that makes them real.

Thanks for having me! These questions have been a lot of fun.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Damsel in Distress by Lee French – Review


Given the burden of safeguarding a precious treasure at a tender age, Sabetia is placed squarely in the middle of a fantastical legend. Swords, demons, magic, a curse: it has everything a great epic tale should. All she needs to do is face the danger that could threaten the world if left unchecked. If only it were so simple. A hero could solve this problem, but she doesn’t happen to be one.

A good wife is obedient, patient, obedient, quiet, obedient, doting, and above all, obedient. Sabetia was raised to be a good wife. It makes her perfect prey, a perfect damsel in distress. 

My Review:

I have to start by saying I’m not all that into books with a whimpy heroine that’s beaten into submission. For the first half of this book, all I felt for Sabetia was the growing need to smack her around myself, as illogical as that sounds.

But then she starts to stand up for herself, and things begin to change.

Damsel in Distress is a well-penned book, even if there is a lot of time-jumping. There are enough clues dropped through the book  to keep the reader guessing (but also solving) as to the ending, keeping the reader engaged at all times (it took me less than 6 hours to read the book, if that is any indication).

A delightful fantasy romp packed full of adventure.


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March 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off on Damsel in Distress by Lee French – Review

Hers to Choose by Patricia Knight – Review

Book Description:Hers_To_Choose_Cover_final

Mentally scarred from her years as prisoner to the off-world invaders, Lady Sophillia Glorianna DeLorion, doubts she can be a fit sexual partner for any man – even one whose passionate green eyes make her remember what it is to desire.

Commander of the Queen’s Royal Guard, Eric DeStroia had grown up watching the corrosive, soul-killing effects of arranged, aristocratic marriage and vowed to remain alone. But under his hardened military exterior, Eric has a kind heart. When the second Tetriarch suggests he marry a noble woman rescued from the enemy, Eric reconsiders, consoling himself with visions of sheltering a wounded dove under his mighty arm. Instead, he discovers a fierce falcon that refuses to stoop to his lure.

In the aftermath of their resounding defeat, a survivor from the enemy camp plotted a return to Verdantia to exact retribution. His first objective is the recapture of Lady Sophillia DeLorion. She had been unreachable until she went to the Oshtesh. Now, only Eric DeStroia stands in his way.


My Review:

Hers to Choose is a sinfully sweet mix of desire and passion that will leave you wanting more. I certainly did! A well-written story with characters that drive you on, you feel yourself edging for Sophillia and Eric through the thick and thin of their budding relationship.



Author Bio: Patricia A. Knight is the pen name for an eternal romantic who lives in Dallas, Texas surrounded by her horses, dogs and the best man on the face of the earth – oh yeah, and the most enormous bullfrogs you will ever see. Word to the wise: don’t swim in the pool after dark.

I love to hear from my readers and can be reached at http://www.trollriverpub.com/ or http://www.patriciaaknight.com . Or send me an email at patriciaknight190@gmail.com . Check out my latest “Hunk of the Day,” book releases, contests and other fun stuff on my face book page: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.knight.71619

Connect With Patricia Knight:

Website: http://www.patriciaaknight.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.knight.71619

Twitter: https://twitter.com/patriciaaknight

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7093656.Patricia_A_Knight

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/patriciak4394

Genre – Fantasy Romance

Publisher – Troll River Publishing

Release Date – 7/15/2013

Excerpt Two:

At dusk the next day, Sophi’s flight filtered into Sh’r Un Kree from the surrounding hillsides.

As they gathered in the designated courtyard, she made a small adjustment to Brio’s bridle.

“Are these the legendary wasteland horses we lowlanders hear stories about?” Commander DeStroia’s deep voice caught her attention. I didn’t hear his approach. Taught stealth by my brother, no doubt.

“Yes.” She followed his gaze as he examined her flight’s small, hardy mounts and the equally small, hardy women astride them. “Petrina—she has a fiery temper to match her red hair, but she is my right hand. The brunette beside her is Adonia, our medica. Her knowledge of herbs is indispensable and this is Rhea, our best tracker. Layna, Eudora and Maeve complete our flight. Their precision in hitting their targets is uncanny. We don’t look like much, but we will not burden you, Commander. We are quite self-sufficient.”

“I never imagined otherwise, Lady DeLorion.”

She stiffened. “I do not use my courtesy title. I am no longer that person. I prefer ‘Flight Leader’.”

His eyes examined her but he nodded agreeably. “Flight Leader. We will leave upon the half-hour. Take position beside me at the front. Your flight can muster behind you.”

“No. It is not our way. We will ride the ridges and shadowed places in twos and threes. We will be there but you will not see us.”

His eyes narrowed. “I don’t like it. I cannot protect you if I cannot see you.”

“I do not ask your permission, Commander. I am in far less danger with my flight than with you who lack experience in the desert wilds. I knew you were coming hours before you arrived. Sound carries great distances in the wastelands—and the dust! Your numbers hang a sign in the desert air, ‘attention—riders approach’.”

She swirled her robes away from her legs and vaulted onto her gelding. A whistled birdcall caught her archers’ attention. “We flank Commander DeStroia. Ride out.”

Sophi felt the Commander’s eyes on her as she and her flight faded into the desert night.

* * *

When Sophi and her women had faded from sight, Eric strode into the stable yard where his four rides of the Queen’s Royal Guard assembled, preparing for the order to mount. Frustration chewed on his temper. I was prepared for a shy, withdrawn woman, not this—Valkyrie. It is difficult to “escort” a woman when you don’t know where she is, when she doesn’t want or need an escort in the first place.

“Queen’s Guard! Prepare to mount! Mount!” he barked, swinging up onto his horse. “Rides! By twos. Form up!” Cavalrymen paired off and formed orderly lines, broken every eight riders by a colorful pennant bearing the insignia of their unit.

“Queen’s Guard! At the walk! March!” Eric ordered.

As his horse’s long stride swung through the arches of the village wall, his second-in-command rode up to him.



“Do we leave without Lady DeLorion?”

“No.” Eric fumed in silence.



The man cleared his throat nervously. “Where is Lady DeLorion?”

“Good question, Captain Biron. If you see her, let me know.”

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October 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Descent by C.L. Roman – Review & Interview

Book Description:

When Captain Fomor leads his unit of six angelic warriors to Earth in an attempt to escape the war in Heaven, not only do they unwittingly set into motion the age of legends, but they must face an inescapable evil that threatens to destroy them, the humans they fall in love with, and the Earth itself.

Creating a new life on antediluvian Earth is no where near as simple as Fomor’s team had hoped it would be. A tragedy occurs early in their sojourn that convinces the seven that they must avoid both humans and fallen angels. But when they unexpectedly meet with the Nephilim, a tribe of unusual humans with unknown origins, the results are unprecedented. However, falling in love with humans is the least of The Unit’s problems.

Mankind is busily descending into a maelstrom of violence and profane religion. The Fallen, angels transformed into demons by their rebellion, have regrouped and are using the tattered remnants of their power to prey upon humankind in horrific ways. Not only is a demon demanding human sacrifice in a nearby village, but the world is careening towards a global disaster that not even The Unit can stop.


My Review:

I was definitely looking forward to reading this book, and it didn’t disappoint. The central conflict, the war in Heaven, is a wonderful background plot to Captain Fomor and co.’s plight. The results of the war – and The Unit’s flight to Earth – are witty and well-worked.

Overall, a wonderful piece of fiction and a good read. Heart-rendering and exciting, it keeps the blood pumping and the reader excited from start to end.


by C.L. Roman

Cheri Roman is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and two Chihuahuas in St. Johns, Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publisher: Brass Rag Press

Release Date: July 1, 2013



It was a black night in the human village of Kutu. The moon hung low in the sky, hiding its face behind a stand of trees from the horror on the ground. The demon didn’t mind the dark. His distress had a different source.

Gone! Drained it dry didn’t you? And left me nothing, not even a drop! A long clawed foot flicked out to nudge the body. What small things these humans are. This one is just a juiceless sack now, nothing left for me. A selfish thing you are, Bansh. No wonder our Master wants you hunted, wants you punished for your betrayal. You followed him into battle against the Creator and then abandoned him.

The burnt, scarred head lifted to scent the air. Someone is coming. Good enough. The Eater is long gone anyway, and the Master will not mind if I profit a little from this discovery. And this one, a gnarled talon reached out to poke at the corpse again, is far past caring about anything.

From the hut nearby came the stealthy sounds of a child escaping her mother’s watchful eye.

Baby, Baby is that you? Mama will skin me if she catches me out here after bed time. Baby?” The little girl crept carefully around the corner of the mud brick house and picked her way through the low vegetation. “Come on little kitty, you don’t want to get eaten. There’s lots of eaters out at night.”

The tiny light of her candle flickered in the breeze, shedding a pool of illumination too small to give much help to her eyes. Her ears were more useful and she heard the reptilian scrabble of his claws as he scuttled up the tree into hiding. The skin under the soft blond curls tightened slightly, but she was too intent on her search to be frightened yet. She heard the soft mew of the kitten to her left, turned toward it and stumbled, her foot caught in something on the ground. She thrust her hands out to catch herself and dropped the little candle. Her hands shook in the sudden dark as she struggled to free her foot from the soft cloth it was tangled in. Above her, the thing in the tree salivated as the girl’s heart began to pound.

What is it? What is it? Her thoughts scurried frantically as the child thrust small fingers between the cloth and her ankle. The brush of cold, dead flesh against her palm dried her mouth with fear. Shivering, she struggled to her feet just as the moon poked his pale face above the houseline, throwing a sliver of light on the human wreckage in front of her. The thing in the tree cursed as her screams rang out, bringing more humans, bringing the security of numbers.

The child’s terrified screams escalated, blending with the shouts from the surrounding houses. As running feet rushed to protect, he shrank back into the dark and resigned himself to another meal of vermin blood. Even the little cat would have been better, but the girl had found it, and clutched it against her thin chest like a shield. His mouth foul with silent curses, he scuttled away, further into the dark. His hunger was another mark against the Eater, the betrayer of the Master. A grimace of pleasure stretched the lipless void of his fanged mouth as he considered the things that might happen to Bansh once he caught him, before he returned him to the Master.

Anticipation scraped through him as he circled the village, now brightly lit with torches, searching for the trail. Stupid humans, they ruin their vision with torches. Make the night darker where the light doesn’t reach.Just as well that Benat does not track by sight so much. It didn’t take him long to find the stench he sought, not five cubits outside the beacon of light that the village had become. He grimaced again, shuddered – and pursued.

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September 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 6 Comments

Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe – Review

 Over the Rainbow – Brian Rowe
YA Fantasy
Date Published:  8/6/2013

16-year-old Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious. 

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion , a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population has mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

 My Review:
My first impression of this book was a slow, boring tale, full of evangelism and Christianity that almost had me quitting. However, the first act of the story breaks way into the first hurdle just at the right time. We’re introduced to Zipporah, a fluffy white dog called Judy, and a tall man with a head injury called Frankie, within the first few paragraphs, and that’s where the story really gets interesting, following the trail marked by yellow flowers… With dashes of Oz, Wonderland and fascinating extinct creatures all through the story, you know it’s going to be a wonderful adventure!
The book is written in a well-thought format, though the setting of the 1990s does leave the reader in a little of a stumble to begin with (especially because I was born in the 90s, and only vaguely remember them!), but it becomes less relevant with each passing chapter. It could just be another story set in the present world.
The references to other stories within the text – the dodo from Wonderland, the little white dog – could have been more subtle, but that’s what makes this story so beautiful. All in all, Over the Rainbow is a wonderful, sweet tale of love and life, against the backdrop of wild imaginings.  And the ending… I wish I had a dinosaur.



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Brian Rowe

Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He’s written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.

Website: brianrowebooks.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17792829-over-the-rainbow

September 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Comments Off on Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe – Review

Ruin of the Rogue – Promo

What’s in a Name?Ruin of Rogue

Miranda Neville

Many years ago, when I wrote my first historical romance, the hero’s name was Marcus. As I sent the book out on submission, it seemed that every book I read that year had a hero named Marcus. Mine never found a publisher (I don’t think it was because of the name!) and I finally sold a different book, hero name Anthony. Since then I’ve had Cain (nickname for John), Sebastian, Tarquin, Blake (nickname for Arthur), and Thomas. Also Max and Christian in novellas. “On deck,” (i.e. planned but not finished) I have a Damian and a Julian.

But I love the name Marcus and it was good to waste on an unpublished hero. So today Marcus Mark II hits the book stores In THE RUIN OF A ROGUE.

Charm, wit, and nerves of steel have helped Marcus Lithgow gamble his way across the Continent. But when his heart is at stake, all bets are off for this most perfect of rogues…

Anne Brotherton is tired of being an heiress. Why can’t men like her for her sharp mind and kind heart rather than her impressive dowry? When she meets Marcus Lithgow she thinks she’s found the right man, until she learns he’s nothing but an unscrupulous fortune hunter.

She nearly falls for Marcus’s smooth seduction. But when Anne realizes she’s being strung along, a lust for revenge empowers her like never before. Two can play at the game of deception. The game of love, however, has its own rules…

Naming is important. I’ve sometimes changed a name half way through the book because the one I chose no longer fits the character. The given name also has to be appropriate to the historical period and the background of the character. Writing books in early 19th century England, I have a relatively limited number of first names to choose from. If we writers of historical romance were to be realistic, half our heroes would be named George. With the new baby prince, George may be back in fashion, but I don’t think it’s going to replace the Sebastians, Luciens, and Gabriels that currently inhabit the genre.

Why do certain names seem to travel in packs? The writers don’t all get together and say “psst, this year all our guys are going to called Colin.” It must be something in the air, or the water, or the collective unconscious. Why else would several writers of historical romance (including me) have heroines named Minerva last year? It’s not like it’s a common name.

Anne, on the other hand, is a common name – in real life. But it doesn’t come up very often in romantic fiction, perhaps because it is so ordinary. The heroine of The Ruin of a Rogue was originally planned to be Claudia. But another rule of character names is not to have too many beginning with the same letter. I had a Caroline and a Cynthia in the same series so Claudia had to go. Anne really suits the character. Here’s how Marcus sees her: “Even in a cheap gown of a dull green cotton, she looked unmistakably a lady and an aristocrat. Perhaps it was because her tall smooth forehead, defined cheekbones and straight nose beneath flawless glossy braids wound around her head made him think of a portrait of a Tudor queen. Apparently centuries of breeding and privilege left their mark.” Anne Brotherton is a woman so established in her own privilege that she doesn’t need a fancy name.

What names do you see often in your reading. Does it bother you when first names are repeated by many writers. Are there any you particularly love – or hate?


MARCUS LITHGOW is the wastrel son of a worthless father. Only his well born mother gave him any pretense of respectability and this he squandered with his hellraising antics. Now, with an unexpected title and the mantle of responsibility nearly choking him, Marcus returns to England–titled, destitute, and in need of a wife.

Anne Brotherton is sick of running into fortune hunters wherever she turns, and is not about to fall for so obvious a one as Marcus Lithgow. Howeve,r it doesn’t mean he can’t be useful to her. Association with him will bring scandal down upon her head, and certainly chase of the boringly respectable men her guardians wish her to wed. As long as she keeps her heart to herself, what’s the harm in a bit of fun?

But Anne didn’t count how seductive Marcus’s world–and the man himself–could be. As for Marcus, what started as a means to an end is now the only possible option…because the one thing this gambler can’t afford to lose is his heart.

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Author Info

Miranda Neville grew up in England before moving to New York City to work in Sotheby’s rare books department. After many years as a journalist and editor she decided writing fiction was more fun. She lives in Vermont.




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“Did he ever kiss you?”

“No.” The answer was more a breath than a word. Her eyes grew large and lovely and her lips parted, just enough to emit a breath. Gently he cupped her cheek. He lowered his head and brought his mouth to hers. He found her as pliant yet firm as he’d suspected, and every bit as sweet. In her inexperienced way she kissed him back. It wasn’t much of a kiss, little more than a mingling of breath, and he wanted more. His fingers found the wild pulse at her temple, threaded into the hair she wore firmly coiled about her head. Closing his eyes, he let her scent and taste and the texture of her lips wash over him. She felt clean and pure. He wanted to pull her into his arms, to discover the body hidden by ill-fitting layers of wool, and most of all to kiss her properly, until she was gasping and crying out for more.

Her untouched enthusiasm touched him, and shamed him too. A man like Marcus Lithgow had no business with this artless girl.

Too bad. He needed her and he couldn’t afford scruples.

August 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments