Category Archives: book review

Books We Love #6

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #6

It’s time for A Drift of Quills and the last of the summer reads! We’re relaxing out on the deck with a nice cool drink and a few good books while the weather (here in the northern hemisphere) is still warm.

As you might have guessed from the title, we’re sharing a few more Books We Love. It’s so hard to choose! Never fear, intrepid readers—we won’t let you down!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

After standing in front of my bookshelves tapping my chin and saying “Hmm… Hmm…” several times, I finally chose Fortress in the Eye of Time, by C.J. Cherryh, the first of her incredible “Fortress” series.

Dontcha love when there’s a whole string of scrumptiousness lined up when you get to the end of a book and wish for more? There are five books to keep you going—and marveling.

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #6 — We’re relaxing out on the deck with a nice cool drink and a few good books while the weather is still warm. And we're sharing!Fortress in the Eye of Time begins with the shaping of our main character—a boy born of magic. And such magic it is! Complicated, terrible, and with rules separating wizardry from sorcery. The wizard who creates Tristen is beginning to fail with age, and Tristen is born fully formed, but without any knowledge of the world or his place in it.

On his journey to discover himself he makes friends with Prince Cefwyn, heir to the Marhannen throne. While he is challenged with the fractious nobles at court and learning to assert his authority, Tristen is hunted by Hasufin Heltain, an old enemy of the wizard.

The first part of the book doesn’t move particularly fast—but that’s okay, because it gives the reader time to become immersed in Cherryh’s beautiful, haunting style. She has a unique voice, and such attention to details! Her characters and settings are wonderfully complex and vivid.

There is a reason Fortress in the Eye of Time was shortlisted for a Locus Award in 1996. Read it and see why.

P.S. BROADDUS

Parker BroaddusAuthor of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
Parker’s website

We are fond of our pets. We have a dog, Indiana, (Indiana Jones reference, anyone? “We named the dog Indiana!”), who is one part funny, two parts hardheaded, but all three parts loving (Remember The Incredible Journey? We thought we were getting Shadow but Indy is really more like Chance). So when you find a tale (oh no, puns…) with talking animals, there is nothing to do but read and share. (Click here to see where Parker is going with this!)

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

It’s my turn! It’s my turn!

For my part, I’m going to share about the work of an author I met at the Literary Classics awards ceremony this past April. Amalie Jahn writes YA sci-fi. In her debut novel, The Clay Lion, Jahn asks young readers to consider what they might do if they could go back in time to save someone they love. I previously reviewed The Clay Lion, and would like to share some of my thoughts with you now.

You know how, when you listen to a symphony, all of your senses are engaged? You catch the sight of the furious violinists; the feel of the pounding percussion beneath your feet… (Read more!)

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Have you read something you’ve just GOT to share? Tell us in the comments!

Image by Ben White via UnSplash.com is licensed under CC0 1.0
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

Book Review: Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

stars-4

I just finished reading Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead. The series, King Raven, is one of the best retellings of the Robin Hood story I’ve ever read.

REVIEW of “Tuck

For the uninitiated, the series is set in the Welsh borderlands and in an earlier time period than we are accustomed to. The story progresses from book to book, though each sees the tale primarily through one main character: Robin (or Rhi Bran, as he’s named here), Will Scarlet—and Friar Tuck.

Fully committed in his loyalty to Robin, Tuck’s simple faith provides some pivotal moments in the story. Witty, pious, and wielding a good solid staff, he gives his all to helping Robin regain his throne against an oblivious king and the power-hungry Normans who want his rich lands for their own, even when it puts him in situations he finds terrifying and impossible. His faith and his faithfulness carry him through.

Written in third person omniscient, the story occasionally features other players so that the reader can understand a wider perspective of the story—and for the most part, this worked well. There were some instances, particularly toward the end of the novel, where I thought it felt contrived.

Lawhead does a fine job illustrating life in the middle ages, and it is not difficult to imagine the reality of mean shelters in the woods, humble houses of worship, and the rough halls of the nobility. The characters he paints fit there well. They are imperfect; they are human. Cultures clash, views of human rights cause divisions, personal character is tested.

Intrigue, desperation, and determination fill the pages of a truly wonderful story.

SUMMARY
Tuck, by Stephen R. Lawhead

“Pray God our aim is true and each arrow finds its mark.”

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead’s masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in Tuck.

This book is for you if you:

  • Enjoy well-developed, realistic characters
  • Like historical fiction with a touch of fantasy
  • Are looking for Flinch-Free Fantasy

This book is not for you if you:

  • Don’t like attention to detail
  • Want a fast-paced story
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Have you read this book? What did you think?
Have you read other books by this author?
What are you reading now? Share in the comments!

Transgression, by R.S Ingermanson (ft)

Book Review: Transgression, by R.S. Ingermanson

3-star rating

City of God: Transgression, by R.S. Ingermanson, is a fast-paced, lightly romantic time-travel story set in ancient Jerusalem. The tale is fairly fun, and the characters are solid enough to have kept my interest. The technical chitchat about the “timeline self-intersecting loop” (a.k.a. “time machine”) made my eyes glaze.  The author is a physicist; I imagine most readers are not. It was over my head!

I did find some thought-provoking ideas in both the concept of time-travel (whether one travels back into their own universe or an alternate) and in the theological debates, though they both got a little repetitious. The tests to the characters’ faith(s) nicely ratcheted tension and gave them stakes beyond the obvious “stop the bad guy / save the world.”

I found the descriptions of the setting a little too light to make me feel completely immersed. It was suggested that the characters saw a lot they’d come to expect, but that it was “different.” I wanted to see more of how it was different, and more (besides the difficulty of male/female social customs) about how the characters experienced this journey through their senses. It seems like it would be completely jarring.

I’d have liked to give this a higher rating than three stars because the writing was decent, because of the aforementioned thought-provoking, because it was a clean read, and because there was plenty of action. But the antagonist was clumsy at best, and made a poor foil for the other characters. The ending was an obvious cliff-hanger (in the manner of “the axe descended toward his head,” leaving one to make assumptions), rather than gently wrapping up this part of the story while leaving it open for further adventures. And the epilogue was sappy. Really sappy…

Transgression, by R.S. Ingermanson

What if you were studying for your Ph.D. in archaeology and decided to take a break from your crummy life for the summer by working on an archaeological dig in Israel?

What if you met a great guy in Jerusalem who happened to be a world-famous theoretical physicist working on a crazy idea to build a wormhole that might make time-travel possible … someday?

What if he had a nutball colleague who turned the theory into reality — and then decided to use YOU as a guinea pig to make sure it was safe?

What if the nutball had a gun and went on a crazy, impossible mission to hunt down and kill the apostle Paul?

It’s A.D. 57 when Rivka Meyers walks out of the wormhole into a world she’s only studied in books. Ancient Jerusalem is awesome! Rivka can’t believe her friend Ari Kazan’s theory actually worked. But when she runs into Ari’s wacko colleague, Damien West, in the Temple, Rivka starts to smell a rat.

When Ari discovers that Damien and Rivka have gone through a wormhole that’s on the edge of collapse, he has to make a horrible choice: Follow them and risk never coming back — or lose the woman of his dreams forever.

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Have you read it yet?
What did you think? Share in the comments!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love (#5)

“Books We Love” is a recurring topic for A Drift of Quills. Sometimes there’s a feast, and sometimes there’s a famine… Does that ever happen to you? Luckily, we’ve got a couple of tasty tidbits to whet your appetite!

A Drift of Quills

On to the Books!

A Drift of Quills: Books We Love #5 (The Woodcutter, A Hero's Curse)

At the beginning of the year I joined the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. I started out with a bang, burning through 14 books in a little over two months. Last month? Not so much, though I’ve started several. In order for my “read” to be counted for the challenge, I actually have to finish it, and there have been some books that I’ve set aside. (Gently, because I love my Kindle—Otherwise, I’d have thrown them across the room in frustration.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 
Books We Love: The Woodcutter, by Kate DanleyMuch to my delight, I stumbled across Kate Danley’s The Woodcutter. What a wonderful, unique twist on fairytales! Danley weaves her own style into a retelling of familiar stories and does not disappoint. I love the brevity of her descriptions; it is a rare author that can convey so much information and emotion with so few words and still maintain such a lyrical quality. I was completely enchanted by her prose and by the story itself. Duty, treachery, love and sacrifice wind throughout a mystery that the Woodcutter must solve. He has help on his long and twisting journey, and we’re given a sizable dose of the old-fashioned magic one rarely sees outside of fairytales. Humor, setbacks, and plot twists lead to a climax and resolution that surprised and delighted me with its emotional impact.

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Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

I’m going with an Indie read this time. Truth to tell, one must wade through some things to find gems, whether they are traditional- or Indie-published. But for those who enjoy fantasy for the young, I can recommend, A Hero’s Curse, by P. S. Broaddus.

What intrigued me when I read the blurb for A Hero’s Curse, was that the main protagonist is a young—blind—girl. Since so much of our world is what we see, and since in our writing, we authors must disclose that world to our readers, I was intrigued with the concept of using a blind heroine. P. S. Broaddus did not fail to deliver . . . (Read more!)

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What have you been reading lately?
Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to share this page!

Are you taking part in the Goodreads’ Challenge? Be sure to hop over to my TBR Challenge post and link me up to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my upcoming book!

Book Review: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book, set in the graveyard in “Old Town” (somewhere in England) is a story about Bod, an unusual boy living in an unusual place and under truly unusual circumstances. When tragedy strikes his family, Bod is adopted by the denizens of the cemetery and guarded by a man known only as Silas.

While he grows he is taught by ghosts from every century, by Silas, and by Miss Lupescu (a werewolf). The tales of his adventures combine a wonderful sense of humor with shades of creepiness and a dash of magic. The assassin that killed Bod’s family was supposed to kill him, too. His failure haunts him and he continues to hunt the boy. In the end, Bod faces the killer—but not without cost.

The end is bittersweet, but well crafted and fitting, even full of hope for Bod’s strange future.

More suitable for tweens and teens, The Graveyard Book has its dark moments and some violence. It is the winner of the British Carnegie Medal and the American Newbery Medal. As an adult, I found it occasionally dark, occasionally sad, and frequently heart-warming.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil GaimanBod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are being such as ghouls that aren’t really one thing or the other.

Available at Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Have you read it yet?
What did you think? Share in the comments!

Book Review: By Divine Right, by Patrick W. Carr

By Divine Right,” the prequel to a longer series, starts out with a wonderful little mystery about the main character, Willet, then segues into a detailed description of the town — a little *too* detailed for my tastes, but hang in there, the story picks up after that in an entirely readable fantasy detective fashion. The real mystery is soon revealed as Willet follows his insatiable curiosity (and apprehension) in an attempt to discover who is stealing magical gifts.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

The culture is fascinating and richly multi-layered. The characters are expertly drawn: Jed the chief reeve (evidently comparable to a sheriff), Rory the urchin, Duke Orlan, and the plucky Lady Gael, and a handful of others. There are no nondescript characters, but this doesn’t require pages of description for each, either. A scar here, a phobia there… Told from a first person point of view, Willet doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on details of his past. He is preoccupied with the war that robbed him of his chance to become a priest and gave him a dark secret even he doesn’t understand.

As a plot to draw the reader into the series, this works well. There are questions presented here that are not fully answered. I didn’t find that a bad thing, as the story is complete in itself and so delightfully done.

Willet Dura ekes out a living as an assistant reeve in the city of Bunard, the royal city, investigating minor and not-so-minor crimes in the poor quarter. Ever since a terrible battle, Willet’s been drawn to the dead, and has an uncanny ability not only to solve their crimes, but even to know when one has been committed.

ByDivineRight_PatrickWCarrWhen a gifted musician is found dead in the merchants’ quarter of the city, everyone assumes by the signs that the old man simply died of a stroke, but Willet’s intuition tells him better. When he learns that this is the second death within the last month of one of the gifted, those with a rare inherited ability, he begins to suspect that something more is afoot, and he soon finds himself chasing a mystery that could bring down the very kingdom of Collum.

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Have you read it yet?
Have you got any single-point-of-view fantasies to recommend?

Book Review: Transformation, by Carol Berg

I have been on a quest to find and read single point of view fantasy books. My own work in progress is written with a single POV, so yes, I have a vested interest — but I also wanted to take a step away from epic fantasy with a horde of characters.  Transformation (Book One of the Rai Kirah), by Carol Berg, came highly recommended on many sites and forums. The blurb intrigued me.

Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for sixteen years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden’s power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone. But from the moment he is sold to the arrogant, careless Prince Aleksander, the heir to the Derzhi Empire, Seyonne’s uneasy peace begins to crumble. And when he discovers a demon lurking in the Derzhi court, he must find hope and strength in a most unlikely place…

I was not disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Transformation, by Carol BergTransformation absorbed me completely—and that’s saying something. I read the preview chapters available on Amazon. I bought it and finished it, reading straight through. And then, of course, I had to do a book review…

Told in the first person, I loved that this was a novel about an adult—mature and experienced, stuck in a terrible situation and coping with it as best he can. Seyonne does not always succeed. It is *hard.* It is harder still when his beliefs put him in a situation that tests a faith he believes is nonexistent and test the apathy he has developed as his self-defense.

His owner, the spoiled and careless Prince Aleksander, also has his beliefs sorely tested. He learns that his quick temper and sharp-edged wit can be lethal in ways he cannot accept. Both of the characters grow from their interaction together, but that doesn’t come easily, either. There are no quick fixes, no automatic friendships. The emotions are raw and absolutely believable.

The magic is unusual and unfolds slowly, and after a little while I found myself nodding and appreciating the unique facets. The setting is artfully painted, providing a sense of the surroundings without weighing the passage down. The author’s writing smooth and eminently readable—except for a few sudden transitions that tripped me up like bumps in the road. The ending was beautiful and hopeful, and I sincerely recommend the tale.

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What are you reading?
Have you got any single-point-of-view fantasies to recommend?

A Drift of Quills

Books We Love (#4)

Welcome to the Friday Feature of our Fantasy writers group, A Drift of Quills! We are back again with some book love to share with you!

ScarletSails210x320When I was a little girl, about ten years old, one of my book-loving big sisters (Hi, Diana!) gave me the book Scarlet Sails, by Alexander Green/Grin (Aleksandr Stepanovich Grinevskii in his native Russia). I knew nothing at all of his popularity in his country and would probably not have been impressed at such a tender age. Nothing about the book cover lured me to explore between the covers. But… it was a book. And, since I got it for my birthday, it must be a special book.

Naturally, I read it.

I fell in love with it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

“Sailing Ship Asole” was me in a dozen different ways, daydreaming, using her imagination, listening to stories told by her elders, never quite fitting in with the people around her. Written in 1923 during the turmoil of Russia’s early socialism, the tale is a simple but powerful love story, a story about dreams coming true. Asole is the daughter of an ostracized sailor, often ridiculed and often alone. An old storyteller tells her that one day a white ship with scarlet sails will come and take her away to live happily ever after. Far across the sea Arthur Gray, a noble and kind boy from from an aristocratic family, dreams of becoming the captain of a sailing ship. His parents don’t believe him and they certainly don’t support him.

The antagonist, if you can call it that, is the disbelief, the lack of hope, the dullness of people without dreams and imagination. We have all faced those obstacles and we know how difficult it can be to rise above them.

Told in the beautiful, descriptive language of the time (and country!), it is a delightful fairytale. I have read it several times, and always, always look forward to reading it again.

(Note: A ship with scarlet sails is a mascot for the Scarlet Sails celebrations in Saint Petersburg named after Alexander Grin’s novel. It is the most massive and famous public event during the White Nights Festival with an attendance of millions.)

(Note #2: The English translation of the book is sometimes known as “Crimson Sails.”)

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KristieKiesslingKRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story, Sanguis Dei and a poetry collection, Light and Dark
Kristie’s Blog

Kristie is taking some time to help her family out. She’s a good mom.

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TrishReding2PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia’s website

I came from a very big family. That is not so unusual for someone in my age group, but when I say “big family,” I am laying claim to a rather exceptional one in that I have seven—yes, count them, seven—sisters.  If that wasn’t enough, the age span from oldest to youngest is only ten and a half years. We grew up in the middle of pretty much “nowhere,” and had to find ways to entertain ourselves. We’d take out our instruments and have parades, play “Harriet the Spy” and spy on one another—complete with our spy notebooks, and we acted out plays. We also we drew “moving picture” stories of books we knew. Essentially, this was to take a long roll of paper and draw the scenes end-to-end, then roll them out to show-and-tell the story. One of our favorites was Mio, My Son, by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, first published in 1954. That book got passed back and forth between us all—repeatedly. Curious  many years later about what it was that had so attracted our attention as children, I tracked down a copy and had another “look-see.”

… (Read more!)

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Okay, lay it on us: What’s YOUR favorite book?
Answer in the comments below, and be sure to share this page!

Book Review: Warrior Mage, by Lindsay Buroker

Lindsay Buroker’s books are always good for a fast-paced, page-turning ride—and Warrior Mage is no exception. It’s the first in the author’s new Chains of Honor series and there is never a dull moment, from the beautiful cover to a closing scene that leaves the reader chomping at the bit for what happens next. I was delighted to take the author up on her offer of a free read in exchange for an honest review. So here it is!

Buroker takes seriously the instructions to “start in the middle of the action.”

Yanko stifled a groan, trying to blink away the sand in his eyes and spit out the dirt plastering his tongue. Pain shot from his hands to his neck as his arms were nearly twisted from their sockets.

Review: WarriorMage_LindsayBurokerThe main character, Yanko, starts the story with a bang, duking it out on the testing grounds of the elite Stargrind school of magic, chosen to redeem his family from disgrace because he’s the only one who can wield magic. Things don’t slow down after that, though there are a few places where you can at least catch your breath. Set in the same world as the Emperor’s Edge books, this tale offers a view from the continent of Nuria, but the author has promised some appearances from some old characters — indeed, one of them shows up in Warrior Mage. Not telling which. You’ll have to read and find out for yourself!

Yanko is eighteen. He’s still a kid—but he’s not. He’s got some growing up to do, and the Fates are seeing to it. I love how Buroker has made him smart (but not too smart), inexperienced, naïve in spite of himself, arrogant (in the way that only teens can be arrogant), and confused. I love the way that circumstances have pushed him along, and he goes without stopping to think about it the way an adult might. Another intriguing aspect of the story is how he deals with — and learns more about — magic. Without being formally schooled, he has the option of being creative, of exploring through participation. His specialty is the earth sciences, and they are not particularly popular in the rest of his world.

And his new bodyguard? Dak is Turgonian—the enemy. He’s also full of mystery and unexplained secrets and activities. In spite of the enmity between their countries (or perhaps because of it, we’ll have to read more to learn!), he takes a particular shine to his new charge. At least a dozen times I wondered out loud, “WHAT is going on in that man’s head?”

Besides the bodyguard, Yanko has a sidekick, too. Laeko may have Turgonian blood (also frowned upon in this neck of the woods), she’s an artist, she is curious and loyal—and drips sarcasm. Gotta love that gal.

The three of them embark on a secret quest that far too many people know about. From the outset they are dodging attacking armies, mage hunters, betrayal, explosions, confusion, secrets, plots within plots, suspicion and murder… And, without turning the story into a comedy, there is Buroker’s trademark humor. She knows exactly how to use it in just the way normal people would reacting to things out of their control or terrifying to the point of the ridiculous. I know that’s what I do, and that’s probably why Buroker’s stories work so well for me.

So. Question: When is the next book in the series coming?

You can pick up a copy here on Amazon: Warrior Mage, Chains of Honor Book 1

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Have you read it yet?
What did you think?
What’s your favorite book by Lindsay?

Review: In Siege of Daylight, by Gregory S. Close

Review: In Siege of Daylight, by Gregory S. CloseAre you a fan of traditional fantasy? In Seige of Daylight delivers a sweeping fantasy tale full of adventure, prophecy, and intrigue. Author Gregory S. Close translates many of the familiar tropes into his own breed of characters—characters with flavor and rich backgrounds in a setting that is comfortable, but not too familiar.

His pacing is spot-on, and his prose provides some lovely scenes. If there’s one thing that interrupted the read, it would be the naming conventions. Close veers from horrendous, unpronounceable, apostrophe-ridden monikers to French (what?) names without missing a beat. Many of the characters and creatures share names so similar that they confuse.

If you can ignore that, a compelling prologue catapults the reader into the first chapter, where the young protagonist makes his debut. I wanted to slap him several times, but that’s a good thing; a young apprentice who knows everything, can do everything, and doesn’t demonstrate his actual youth is difficult to believe. Calvraign may be a quick study, but he’s also victim to a mercurial temper and a teenage sense of invincibility.

The other figures introduced in this story are equally well developed — no cardboard cut-outs here. Aside from the names, the other races are introduced without the baggage of an info dump, yet they flow into the tale smoothly and still leave room for surprises.

The plot unwinds at a good pace, displaying contrasting cultures, veiled histories, and surprise reveals. While the territory is familiar, Close does a fine job of keeping it from being cliché. In spite of the number of character views, he’s kept them in balance and done it in a way that coaxes the reader to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. He is clearly a storyteller worth watching.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Have you read In Siege of Daylight
What did you like best about it?
What other books have you read that are similar?