Flight of the Tarantula Hawk - A Lance Underphal Mystery by Michael Allan Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The best part about being a beta reader is that you literally get a sneak peak into the author's next book. When Mike Scott approached me about reading the second Lance Underphal book, I was thrilled. Was I disappointed you ask? Not a single bit. If I were to compare Book 1 and Book 2, I'll say Book 1 was my favourite story and character wise. Where writing is concerned, Book 2 is definitely the better of the two. He plays more mind games with the reader and I abso-bloody-lutely loved it.
Secondary characters were a bigger deal in this book as the plot focuses on the characters instead of the other way around. As the plot comes to light so does Lance Underphal's ability as the main character. Letting go was an important theme in Flight of the Tarantula Hawk. Lance is more tolerant of his 'curse' than in the Book 1 but will he completely ever accept it without any reservation? Book 3 and more to come I guess. *hint *hint
Would I recommend this read? You bet. However, if you are someone who is easily perturbed by murder and psychic occurrences, then this MAY not be the best book for you.
Offensive content?: Based on language, violence and settings I would say recommended for readers 15 years and older.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.
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Thursday, 17 April 2014
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
1. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
If I start feeling too down, I step away from whatever’s bothering me and do two things. 1) I listen to Elvis; particularly the song, “Blue Hawaii.” 2) I drink a coke. Elvis and Coke are my leveling factors. If I’m able to, I’ll also throw in some intense cardio at the gym. This always seems to help me put my self-doubts and fears into perspective.
2. What scares you the most?
Call me crazy, but I can’t handle being suspended from heights in a bucket. So Ferris Wheels, cherry pickers, and gondolas are pretty much out for me. And it’s not the heights. I have no fear of heights. It’s the fact that I’m suspended from a bucket. Not really sure how to explain that one.
3. What makes you happiest?
Laughing. If I can find something to laugh about, life isn’t so bad. The good moments are made even better, and the bad ones are brightened.
4. What’s your greatest character strength?
I am fiercely loyal. Once I’ve decided that you’re “mine” I will think of you that way forever. This could also be considered a flaw I suppose, it’s burnt me before, but really I think you shouldn’t live life holding back. If you’re too afraid to love people then you’ll never experience the reward that comes from doing so.
5. What’s your weakest character trait?
I have a tendency to be a firework. I go crazy, becoming completely obsessed/motivated to get things done . . . for about three days. After that, I fizzle out and loose all interest. Luckily, I have a husband who helps me stay motivated, and with a lot of work, I’m starting to put this weakness behind me slowly.
6. Why do you write?
I write because it makes me happy. I love the adventure of discovering a story that hasn’t been told before, and losing myself completely in it. As an added bonus, the characters become my closest friends. I’m happiest when I’m writing, and so I always try to be working or thinking about some aspect of it.
7. Have you always enjoyed writing?
Believe it or not, no. Writing was something I did because I had to for school, work, or whatever else you want to throw in there. However, I have always loved telling stories. Eventually that passion led to actually writing them down. Now I’m hooked.
YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE LIFE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN.
All that you can do is make the most of what you’ve been dealt—fight a good fight, resist being beaten by circumstance, and hope that somehow, despite it all, you’re able to accomplish the impossible.
But even then you cannot change the fact that you were born cursed.
I am one of those unlucky few upon whom the Curse of the Four Fathers has fallen.
It is I who must bear the burden of having a life that is unchangeably intertwined with the Fae. A sorrow made all the more great by knowing that where they are tragedy, loss, misery, and despair most assuredly follow.
As a Druid it is my responsibility to uphold the boundaries that keep the worlds of the Tylwyth Teg, and our own, separate. As a man it is my only ambition to protect the family and woman I so desperately love.
The only problem: I'm not sure this curse will allow for me to do both.
Genre - Paranormal Fantasy, Horror
Rating – PG-13
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Saturday, 12 April 2014
1. Tell us a bit about your family.
My father was a symphony musician, and my mother was a classical musician who stopped pursuing a musical career to raise children. She later went back and got her degree in landscape architecture. I had one biological brother and two adopted siblings - a brother was adopted at age four, and a sister who was brought over from Korea as a baby. There were a lot of chores to do at our house.
2. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I work through fear by doing the thing I’m afraid of. I’m the first one to volunteer. I work through self-doubts by praying. I’ve finally (mostly) stopped the whispers in my head that tell me I’m not worth anything.
3. What scares you the most?
Oh, it’s most certainly to lose my husband or one of my three children. There is nothing that comes even close to that fear. However, I have a funny phobia - well, now it’s funny - that I will need to use the bathroom in a place where there is none available.
4. What makes you happiest?
Since I’m so busy a lot of the time, I’m happiest when I’m on vacation with my family. I know that the children are having a great time and we’re building memories together. I feel in those moments like I’m doing something right.
5. What’s your greatest character strength?
I think it’s honesty. I wanted to say that it’s to love, but I realized there is a limit to my love depending on my energy level. However, there is no limit to my honesty.
6. What’s your weakest character trait?
I am undisciplined. I’m sloppy, rash; I spend too much, eat too much, am slow to exercise and fold socks, but can waste hours online. I think it all falls under the umbrella of undisciplined.
7. Why do you write?
Because then people have to hear me out - no one can cut me off. They have to listen to the entirety of what I want to say. I didn’t know that it was important until I started writing.
At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.
When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.
Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
Friday, 11 April 2014
1) Tell us a bit about your family.
I live with my husband, two children, three dogs, and three cats in a small town in Missouri. I have a teenage daughter and a seven-year-old son. Both kids are very active in school activities and sports, so they keep me very busy.
2) What makes you happiest?
I love spending time with my family. We make an effort to do as many family activities together as possible. During warm weather, our favorite thing to do is walk through nature. My happiest time is when I am outside on a scenic trail with my family.
3) What’s your greatest character strength?
I am very good at seeing both sides to situations. Because of this trait, I rarely get extremely angry. I can usually step back and look at things from the other person’s point of view and gain an understanding of why they did what they did. Usually, I find that the person’s intentions weren’t bad, it was just a matter of a communication failure.
4) What’s your weakest character trait?
Impatience. I tend to become very impatient if things are done according to my time-table. It is something that I have to work on daily.
5) Why do you write?
I love getting lost in a story. I can be writing and look up and realize that hours have passed. While I’m writing, I am seeing what is happening in my mind. I often find myself getting so wrapped up in the story that I cry or laugh out loud. I figure if I can make myself cry writing the scene, then I’ve done a pretty good job with it.
6) Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes. I started writing poetry and short stories at a very early age. I used to challenge myself by picking a random object, like a tree, and then writing a poem or a short story about that object. I feel very blessed that I have been able to become a full-time writer.
7) What writing are you most proud of?
My mother used to tell me stories about the dog she had as a child. The dog’s name was Lady, and she served as a messenger dog during WWII. She was injured during the war and as a result, became gun shy. My mother was about six years old when a soldier gave Lady to my Grandfather. She was an Irish Setter. When he found out she was gun shy, he gave her to my mom. My mom is in her sixties and still remembers Lady as one of her dearest friends. As a gift to my mother, I wrote Heart of a Hero, which is based on Lady.
From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
INTRODUCTION: GRANDFATHER’S INVOCATION
He stood in the deepest place. He stood in a place that was closest to the core. He stood in the sacred place and held the eagle feather. He raised the feather to the sky people, to the guardians of the world above.
“I pray to you, people of the sky, be with us this week. Stay with us and keep us safe.” The shaman spoke in the old language, his voice rising and falling. It was neither querulous nor weak. No one hearing it would guess his age.
Hundreds of warriors watched silently, sitting in the deepest place. Grandfather turned to the four directions, one by one.
“I pray to you, guardians of the North, for the strength to overcome the cold time, to get us through the hard time. Let the People come to this last Meeting. Let them come with clear eyes to see what is here. Let them see the Great One, behind and beyond and through all places and directions.”
Let them give up their strife and fault finding, the old man prayed silently. Let them stop picking each word I say apart. Let them see you, O Great One, and stop fighting me. I am your tool and your soldier, nothing more.
Grandfather swayed on his feet, feeling the Presence of the One. O Great One! You who fills all the earth, and the stars; the things that we can see, and the things that we cannot see. I love you! I praise you! I worship you!
“Let the People feel the river of love this week. Let each of them learn what he came here to learn. Let each learn what she came to learn. Take away the darkness, O Lord, and bring us your light.”
He turned to the East. “I praise you, guardians of the East. Give us your power, the power of new life, the power of spring over winter, of awakening. Watch over us and give us victory.”
Give us victory over the intruders from the outside, and over the intruders from the inside, he prayed within his heart. Free us from our poisonous thoughts and feelings, from the desire to see only small things and differences. Let us see that we are the same. As you are the One, so we are one.
Bud Creeman stood next to Grandfather, circulating the smoke with his feather fan. He let out a piercing cry. “I see you, Great One! I see you!” He raised his hands high.
The old man turned and held the eagle feather over his head. “I praise you, great Southern warriors. I praise you with great love. Thank you for your peace, your serenity. Your plenty, the plenty of summer and the good harvest. Be with us this week, show us your bounty.”
Let us accept your bounty with graciousness and love, he prayed. Let us recognize a great gift when it may appear small, or not what we wanted, or not a gift at all.
Then Grandfather turned to the Western gate, the passage between this world and the other side. “Watcher of the Gate, let us die and die again, the little deaths that mean growth and change. Let the parts of us that need to die go, and the parts that need to live stay. May we pass through your doorway in glory when the last dying comes!”
And may our visitors from the great corporation get what they need this week. May they have the love and courage they need; may they have the will to die and be reborn.
He sang in the old language, his voice rising over the Bowl. He stood in the deepest part—in the amphitheater they called the Pit—where the meteor struck long before the dawn of days. Grandfather knew that the meteor did not give the Power. The Power was there before anything. The Power made everything.
“I love you, I worship you, I praise your name and glory. Be with me all of my days. Protect us, O Great One, from our enemies inside and outside.”
He sat cross-legged on the earth. The warriors were around. Rapture overcame him, followed by tears of joy as they rose from the bliss inside. Like a sun, came the Great One; like the sun of suns, splitting his heart in two, tearing him in pieces until the bliss was so great that the universe broke open and he dropped, a shining pearl, a brilliant diamond, dropped into the nothing that exists beneath all that is.
He heard no more until the sun was high.
The Long Awaited Sequel to NUMENON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MONEY
WILL WE HAVE PEACE OR OUR DARKEST NIGHTMARES?
Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It's 1997; Will's been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He can sway governments and ruin lives. Will's latest mission brings him into conflict with all that's holy.
He and his corporate hot shots reach their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat. Their luxurious motor homes enter the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.
Grandfather, the powerful shaman leading the retreat, seeks a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. This vision has haunted him all his life. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real. Grandfather knows exactly what Will Duane wants.
A malicious force steps into the action. Both men's hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power tries to claim their lives and souls.
You won't forget this modern day fable, a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.
Genre - Visionary Fantasy
Rating – R