Thursday 26 June 2014

#BookReview - Floats The Dark Shadow by @YvesFey #Historical #Mystery #ReviewShare

Floats The Dark ShadowFloats The Dark Shadow by Yves Fey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When an author strives to make her ebook presentation just like a paperback, I am quickly drawn to the book. Additionally, I followed this author's blog tour and her blog posts on her travels, her thoughts and writing processes were done so creatively, I couldn't help but savour this book from start to finish.

We're taken back to the 1890s in a fluid mixture of art, history, villains, darkness and light. The two main characters Michel and Theo are slowly drawn to the forefront for the reader amidst the mysterious disappearances of children. Their personality clashes as they commence to work together keep the reader entertained just as much as the thickening mystery provides more than one nail biting moment.

In a city we recognise for love and beauty, Yves Fey shows us a chilling side to Paris. Her writing is polished, her attention to detail is obvious, her research appreciated, and the simple touches of chapter headers, quotes and fonts made a big difference to me.

Would I recommend this read? In a heartbeat, and not just the book. I say grab everything this author has written. Her style is breathtaking in every way. You won't be disappointed.

Overall assessment:
Content: 5/5
Editing: 5/5
Formatting: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, this book is recommended for adult readers.

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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#BookReview - Riddle of the Diamond Dove by N.S. Wikarski #HistFic #ReviewShare

Riddle of the Diamond Dove: Arkana Mysteries #4Riddle of the Diamond Dove: Arkana Mysteries #4 by N.S. Wikarski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this series with book #3 and then went back to read the series in order. In a nutshell, this is a series any reader will enjoy. Daniel has evolved and it is almost humourous when he ponders that "three (wives) is a number no husband should have to endure."

As a cult leader, Abraham was dominant but also sad. I really felt for him when he poured the sleeping potion away and admits defeat to his 'visions.' Of all the books, I liked Cassie best in this book.

Wikarski has a smooth writing style. Despite the shifts in POV and changes that happen to the characters, the tone is consistent throughout the book and this I appreciated. As you progress from 'The Granite Key' to 'Riddle of the Diamond Dove', her writing style has become sharper and stronger as well.

Would I recommend this read? Absolutely but it is recommended that the books be read in order or the growth of the characters will be lost.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 4/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, readers aged 13 and above will enjoy this book.

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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#BookReview - Infernal Gates by Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks #Fantasy #ReviewShare

Infernal GatesInfernal Gates by Michael J. Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a kind of book you will read often. It was labeled as a Christian thriller, fantasy & adventure when given to us and while these classifications do fit the book the story blows your mind and sometimes makes you explode. In other words, I have mixed feelings.

Is it well-written? Yes. Michael J. Webb has a distinct ability to introduce something and then layer it with one layer of interesting and then another and another. Is it well-edited? For the most part, yes. But punctuation is not this editor's strong suit. Among other things, you had hyphens where commas could be used, periods where question marks were needed and ellipsis where hyphens were needed.

I liked the mash up between Christianity and fantasy - this was what made the book unique to me. Some readers may feel it excessive but I say go at it with an open mind. Don't expect the story or Ethan to turn out the way you want it to.

Aside from this, fundamentally, the story is about an unlikely hero who is shocked into saving the world. More importantly, he saves himself. After the plane crash, he finds out his wife was actually going to divorce him and any normal person would have sunk far down into depression but Ethan was sucked into adventure of a lifetime and the author uses his flaws to create one heck of an interesting character.

Would I recommend this read? Yes I would recommend this book to any patient reader who is looking for something different be it in terms of character and story building.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 3.5/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, I would recommend this book to readers aged 13 and above.

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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#BookReview - Order of the Seers by @CereceRMurphy #SciFi #ReviewShare

Order of the Seers (Order of the Seers, #1)Order of the Seers by Cerece Rennie Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the few books that had me hooked from the first chapter. Seriously, who starts the first chapter with the words "The End"? The Guild hunts down Lilli and she embarks on a journey to fight back against them. Her ability to see into the future becomes her crutch but it is with this crutch that Lilli blossoms through the story.

The author's obsession with the physical aspects of her characters and her settings makes this book one of the best I have read. Every sight and touch is explained to the point you are sometimes left drooling or almost physically present in the very scene.

This was one of the more powerful descriptions for me - "But the focus of this little boy’s attention was not on the flaming rooftops or the heavy smell of burning flesh in the air. It was on the scene taking place less than three feet away from him. On the ground were the charred remains of a woman whose arms were black-coal ridged as they reached above her body, frozen in her final defense."

The four letter word is used in abundance which for me was the only thing that kept me from giving it the full five stars.

Would I recommend this read? It was stunning in terms of writing style and imagery. For these reasons I would heartily recommend it but for readers who don't like violence or excessive language, you will not like this read.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 3.5/5
Formatting: 4.5/5
Pacing: 4/5

Offensive content?: Some violence, some sex and strong language so in my opinion this book is best suited for readers aged 18 and above.

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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Wednesday 25 June 2014

7 Questions with #Author Roland Hughes - #Dystopian #Fiction #AmReading

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
If it were not for OpenOffice and its spell checking I could never be a writer.  That said, I seem to go through a lot of scratch paper.  Perhaps it is because I grew up before computers existed.  Notes in a text or other file tend to get lost but when I'm writing something I intend to complete my desk is littered with things written down on paper in my nearly illegible handwriting.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Interesting question.  I've seen it asked in many different ways.  People talk about Earnest Hemingway “at his best in the morning.”  Others talk about his drinking.  Few connect the two and say he was at his best hung over.  It is kind of a straight line.  If you drink a lot then you are either just sobering up or hung over in the morning.
Oddly enough I find I'm at my best when physically tired.  I don't mean exhausted after a day's work, but the kind of tired you get the next day or the day after many days of exhausting work.  Where you have slept all you can sleep but don't seem to have enough energy to go outside and do something.  That kind of physical fatigue keeps me parked in the chair at the keyboard.  The writing part of my mind is in complete control pretty much because the rest of it is still checked out.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
The definition of success changes over the years.  Early on you want to have that run away hit so you can “live the life”.  A bit later your focus starts to move towards writing that one book which will last.  Once you approach the big 5-0 you tend to focus on writing something you really feel needs to be written and hope there will be one other person at some point in the future who discovers it and claims it made their life better.
Occasionally I visit a writing forum or two.  I'm always amused at the fledgling writers striving to make their first work a break out commercial success.  When they ask why I'm amused I tell them they should focus on writing really good books early on then strive for that big commercial success with their last book.  Why?  Because it wags the long tail of their catalog.  Many get offended when they here that, but it weeds out writers from lottery players.  Far too many people putting work out there think they can write a single story then live on easy street.  They don't want to hear that easy street doesn't have a zip code.

How did you develop your writing?
As a child I wrote a lot of letters communicating with family members.  The Post Office was all we had back then.  I guess that resurfaced later in life.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
When it comes to my “geek” book series “The Minimum You Need to Know” inspiration comes from identifying things developers need to know which aren't widely documented or, as in the case of the logic book in that series, are simply no longer taught.  My novels come from various places.  In the case of “John Smith” those characters simply refused to leave me alone until I told their story.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
A glass of Chardonnay by the fire place with some good DVDs.

How often do you write? And when do you write?
I write when I have both the time and the need.  I self publish these days.  I have no deadlines or release commitments.  This gives me the freedom to do it right.


"John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars" is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between "John Smith" (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Greene's Calling (Seventeen #3) by A.D. Starrling @adstarrling @ladyreaderstuff #Mystery

Greene's Calling (Seventeen #3)
By A.D. Starrling
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Paperback, 394 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Action / Mystery

An immortal healer.

An ancient legacy reborn.

A chain of cataclysmic events that threatens to change the fate of the world. 

When a plane crashes in the Amazonian swamp where Conrad Greene is attempting to live out the rest of eternity, the jaded immortal who was once one of the Bastian First Councilís greatest assets stumbles across a conspiracy involving the recently elected president of the United States.

Caught in the middle of the intrigue is US Secret Service agent Laura Hartwell, the one immortal on Earth most likely to put a bullet through Greeneís skull.

Greene is coerced into returning to the life he had left behind by the leader of the Bastians and reluctantly agrees to assist the Americans in their investigation. As disturbing incidents start to unfold around the globe, Greene and a team of elite human and immortal agents must track down an elusive organization hell-bent on shifting the power balance of the world.

Can Greene stop the deadly countdown that threatens to alter the course of human history and regain the trust of the woman he loves?

The riveting and fast-paced third installment in the award-winning, supernatural thriller series Seventeen is finally here.

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Conrad Greene ran across the wet, sloping lead roof of the Banqueting House, his breath misting in the cool night air. Moonlight flashed on metal to his right. He caught a glimpse of a blade falling toward his neck and ducked. The sword skimmed past his head with a faint hum. Feet skidding on the slick surface, he spun around, dropped to one knee, and lifted the short, silver-gilded staff in his hands.

A grunt sounded above him as the burly swordsman brought his weapon down once more. The edge of the blade struck the staff hard, raising sparks in the gloom. The manís lips pulled back in a vicious grin, exposing two uneven rows of stained teeth. The muscles and veins in his neck and arms bulged with superhuman strength as he drove the sword into the staff.

Conradís elbows slowly folded toward his chest. Air left his lips in a low hiss as the tip of the manís blade inched closer to his left eye. He pushed back with the staff with all his might, dark spots dancing across his vision.

A figure dashed past them on the left. Conrad caught a glimpse of soft, brown curls. His heart stuttered inside his chest. He swore, fell back, and rolled out of the way of the falling blade.

He landed close to the balustrade that ran around the top of the building and climbed swiftly to his feet. Ignoring the swordsman charging toward him, he peered through the rainfall at the dark shapes engaged in a fast-paced and deadly battle on the moonlit rooftop. His eyes sought and found the woman who had run by him.

She was almost at the north end of the terrace, where a young man with brown hair and eyes stood confronted by three armed attackers; blood from the wounds on his left shoulder and flank had already soaked through his long-sleeved, ruffle shirt and stained his leather jerkin.

ëWilliam!í the woman yelled, her voice edged with fear and desperation. She passed the weather vane on the sloping roof and unsheathed the rapier at her waist.

Relief darted across the younger manís face at the sound of his name. He glanced at the woman over his attackersí shoulders and raised his own blade to block another strike.

Conrad clenched his teeth. He turned to face his opponent and twisted one of the metal rings on his short staff. The weapon extended and a spear blade sprang out at either end. A loud battle cry preceded the attack of the burly swordsman a heartbeat later.

Conrad blocked his blade, kicked him in the groin, and hooked the staff behind his neck. He yanked the manís head down at the same time that he drove his knee up into his face. A guttural groan left his adversaryís lips, and he slid to the ground, unconscious.

A flurry of activity to the right captured Conradís attention. Another group of men had rushed onto the rooftop terrace of the Banqueting House. He scanned the other fighters around him, anxiety twisting his stomach; he and his companions were now heavily outnumbered.

His eyes suddenly widened. The newcomers had drawn their swords and were heading resolutely for the running woman and the wounded man still fighting at the north end of the building. Knuckles whitening on his staff weapon, Conrad moved to intercept the men.

The woman reached the figures at the edge of the terrace. She stepped in front of the injured young man and swung her thin blade around in a flurry of strikes and blocks at his three attackers. Rage darkened her face and a roar left her lips. The men fell back under her fierce attack.

The wounded man sagged behind her and gripped his bleeding limb. Even from a distance, Conrad read the fear and confusion on his features. The man turned and flinched when he met Conradís eyes.

The expression on his face left no doubt in his mind. William Hartwell was the one who had betrayed them. Bile flooded the back of Conradís throat. Hartwell looked away. His lips moved, forming words that were lost in the stormy night as he shouted something at the men trying to kill him.

For an infinitesimal moment, the woman faltered, a flicker of incomprehension flashing across her face. She cast a quick look over her shoulder at the one she was trying to protect. Their closest assailant moved and brought down his sword. The blade arced across her left arm, carving a deep cut from her elbow to her wrist.

A cry escaped her lips. She took a step back and warded off another blow inches from her neck. Hartwell moved forward then, anger blazing across his face. He raised his sword and joined in the fray once more.

Conrad got to within twenty feet of them before he crossed paths with the four men he was trying to head off. He raised the double-bladed spear staff and spun it through the air. The gilded wood deflected the silver swirl of swords that danced toward his body while the jagged tips blurred, slicing and stabbing through flesh. One man fell, his fingers rising to the spurting crimson stream pouring from the wound on his neck. Another followed him to the ground seconds later.

A single scream suddenly shattered the night.

The sound was a knife that cut straight through Conradís soul. He blocked a blow to his head and looked to his left.

William Hartwell had backed up against the balustrade. Conrad froze and felt time slow down.

The young man tipped over the edge and fell from the terrace, dragging his three attackers with him. The woman leapt forward through the curtain of glittering rain, crystal drops crashing on her skin, her movements heavy and sluggish in that stolen moment of stillness. She leaned over the balcony, fingers clutching desperately at the figures plummeting toward the ground. Her hands closed on empty space.

The bodies struck the street three stories below with a dull thud.

Time unfroze in a cacophony of sounds and sensations. Thunder rumbled across the heavens, underscoring the battle cries around Conrad. Cold wetness drenched his hair and face, bringing the sharp scent of the storm to his nostrils and a tangy taste to his lips. Lightning tore a brilliant, jagged path across his vision and made him blink.

Heat suddenly erupted across his chest when a blade slashed his skin. Blood bloomed on his shirt. Conrad scowled and focused on his two remaining adversaries. By the time he had disposed of them, the woman had disappeared from the rooftop.

He looked at the other fighters around him and felt a rush of relief at the sight that met his eyes; despite the odds, his men were winning.

ëGo!í yelled someone to his right. The red-haired figure who had spoken danced nimbly out of the way of a blade and stabbed his opponent savagely in the chest. Pale eyes glanced at him for a second. ëWeíve got this, Greene!í

Conrad bobbed his head jerkily and twisted the ring that retracted the staffís spear blades. He raced for the door that led inside the building.

By the time he reached the ground floor, the wound on his chest had stopped bleeding. He knew without looking that the skin beneath his torn shirt was once more unblemished.

He found the woman on her knees by the pile of bodies that lay in an awkward tangle of broken limbs at the north base of the Banqueting House. She was leaning over William Hartwell, sobs shuddering through her as she stroked his pale face with shaking fingers; blood from the wound in her arm mingled with his where it seeped from the irregular depression on his temple. Hartwellís chest rose and fell shallowly with his breaths. He was unconscious.

The woman looked around at Conradís footsteps, her hazel eyes wild with anguish.

ëDo something, please!í she begged.

Conrad sank to the ground next to her, his voice frozen in his throat. He placed his left hand on the young manís head and closed his eyes.

A burst of energy flared inside his chest and pulsed down toward his elbow. It darted through the birthmark dancing along his forearm and flashed to the ends of his fingers. He inhaled deeply and guided the flow of his power inside the broken body of William Hartwell.

Bone popped beneath his hand. The young manís flesh slowly began to knit together.

Sweat broke across Conradís brow. The battle had drained him of much of his strength; he could feel Hartwellís torn tissues resisting his ability to heal them. He ground his teeth together and willed his exhausted body to cooperate.

ëWhatís happening?í said the woman. Panic raised the pitch of her voice. She grabbed Conradís shoulders and shook him, her fingers biting into his skin. ëWhy isnít he waking up?í

Conrad sagged as he felt his own life force start to ebb; he was nearing the limits of his ability. He blinked and swayed. Dark blotches clouded his vision. The womanís frantic words became a roar in his ears.

A moan suddenly broke through the rush of blood inside his head. He looked down and saw Hartwellís eyes open. Within the dark pupils of the man he had come to know and love as a brother, Conrad Greene read the words he could no longer utter.

William Hartwell wanted to die. He also yearned for something else.

Conrad gasped and slowly pulled his power back inside his own body, his fingers trembling on the cooling skin of the dying man. Hartwell shivered beneath his touch.

ëWhy are you stopping?í yelled the woman. ëSave him!í

Conrad knew there were only seconds left; he could feel Deathís shadow approaching through the thunderstorm raging across the city. He leaned down and brought his lips to Hartwellís ear.
ëI forgive you,í he whispered, his vision blurring with tears. He pulled back slightly and saw Hartwell blink once. The young manís last breath left his mouth and caressed Conradís cheek.

William Hartwell stared unseeingly at the rain falling from the night sky, his face serene and his body relaxing in death.

ëNo,í mumbled the woman. ëNo, this isnít happening!í Her voice rose to a scream. ëWhy did you let him die? Why? Goddamn youó!í Grief overwhelmed her and she wept brokenly.

Conradís heart shattered inside his chest as he looked at the woman he loved and saw hate dawn in the depths of her hazel eyes.

AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God's hours as a Pediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.
 Her debut novel Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book #1) has won and been nominated for several awards, as has her second novel Kingís Crusade. She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the next installment in the series. She still practices medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.

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