Book Review: First Epiphany of the Time Vandal


Rollins finished lighting his cigar.  He shook out the match and laid it in the ashtray.  “Harald Bluetooth?” he queried, looking down at the book lying on the edge of Elijah’s desk.

“Danish king, around 980 A.D.,” Elijah answered as he sat down behind his desk.  “At the height of his power he ruled over most of Scandinavia.  He converted all his subjects to Christianity.”  He shot the director a glance.

“Peacefully, I’m sure,” retorted the Director, smiling ear-to-ear.  He loved tweaking Elijah about things like this.

Elijah shrugged, unapologetically. “He’s just a hobby of mine,” he said.  “Guys like that, the ones that were able to unite a bunch of tribes against all odds, they always interested me the most.  I don’t know why.”  He started typing something on his laptop.  Rollins ignored him for the next few moments, puffing on his cigar to really get it going.  After a few moments more, the dark clouds filling the small office, he looked back up across the desk at Elijah and chose his words carefully.  “You know, Kim would have been really proud today.”  Elijah’s head snapped up, a barely concealed look of pain on his face.  Rollins continued, “It’s been over a year, man.” He shook his head slightly back and forth twice and paused for a moment.  “I mean … I guess I just want to say that I’m proud of you too, buddy.”

Elijah glared at him evenly, his gaze showing no emotion at all.  “I appreciate that, Jack.  I really do.”

After a few more seconds of silence, Rollins stood up and walked around the desk to where Elijah was sitting.  He reached out and put his hand on Elijah’s shoulder.  “I know that you wish, more than the whole world, that she was here today to share this with you, to share this day.  She believed in this project almost as much as you did.” 

M.E. Bowling. First Epiphany of the Time Vandal (Kindle Locations 295-309). Kindle Edition.

Time Vandal

The Observer Effect is this strange physics principle that says the act of observation alters the outcome when observing phenomenon. The same principle can be applied to people and animals to an extent. So what happens when a brilliant scientist discovers a way to travel through time so that history can be observed and recorded? Dr. Elijah Snow learns that time travel is far more complicated than the science that made it possible as he starts his journey toward becoming the Time Vandal. Continue reading “Book Review: First Epiphany of the Time Vandal”

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Book Review: Galerie


Welcome to the Galerie Tour with

Author Steven Greenburg

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Book Review by Eric Swett

Survival is an instinct all animals share. Fight or flight. When humans are put into a position where survival is on the line, there is no telling what they might do. Fight or flight can turn to surrender or barbarism in the blink of an eye. Vanessa Neuman is haunted by survival. How did her parents, grandfather and uncle survive when so many others died during the holocaust? When her father dies, he leaves her his leather bound diary filled with the stories of other Jews, and Vanessa heads to Prague to see what she can learn, but will she regrets uncovering a past other left behind?

THE GOOD

Galerie is Steven Greenberg’s second novel, and it is a real page turner, but not because it is simple reading. The author’s prose is magnificent and engaging. The words draw you through the story with an urgency that can old be achieved through good storytelling. Vanessa pops as the lead while the supporting cast of family members and diary memories bring to life a story that could have been relegated to  mere window dressing. Vanessa’s husband, the anxious narrator, provides the backdrop for the story that goes beyond the highly detailed locales explored by the author.

THE BAD

The story jumps from time to time to time and from location to location. If the author were any less skilled it might be an issues, but he weaves the story through the changes in such a way that the suspense builds faster and more intently than if the story followed a more traditional, linear trajectory. So is this bad? No, not really.

THE TAKEAWAY

this is a tremendous addition to the genre. It is dark and gritty at times, but the story and writing lift it up to the point of being nearly sublime. buy this book and say goodbye to your family for the weekend, because you will not want to put it down once you get started.

About the Book

Every family holds to secrets, but some are far darker, reach deeper, and touch a rawer nerve than others.

Vanesa Neuman is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and her childhood in the cramped intimacy of south Tel Aviv is shadowed by her parents’ unspoken wartime experiences. The past for her was a closed book… until her father passes away and that book falls literally open. Vanesa must now unravel the mystery of the diary she has received—and the strange symbol within—at all costs.

Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation and the Jewish Museum of Prague—Adolf Eichmann’s “Museum of an Extinct Race”—Galerie is fast-paced historical fiction in the tradition of Tatiana De Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. From Jerusalem’s Yad V’Shem Holocaust research center, to the backstreets of Prague, and into the former “paradise ghetto” of Theresienstadt, Vanesa’s journey of understanding will reveal a darker family past than she ever imagined—a secret kept alive for over half a century.

About the Author

Steven Greenburg is a professional writer, as well as a full-time cook, cleaner, chauffeur, and work-at-home Dad for three amazing young children, and the lucky husband of a loving and very supportive wife. Born in Texas and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he emigrated to Israel only months before the first Gulf War, following graduation from Indiana University in 1990. In 1996, Steven was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, where he served for 12 years as a Reserves Combat Medic. Since 2002, Steven has worked as an independent marketing writer, copywriter and consultant. To find out more about Steven Greenburg, find him on Facebook, Goodreads and his website.

About the Prizes

Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter for this tour here! This tour will 3 $10 gift cards & the more you share, the more you’re entered!

Book Review: The Author Mindset


Author
Ask any dedicated author and they will tell you that coming up with the idea for a story is probably the easiest part of the writing process. Sitting down and writing the book is certainly time consuming, while editing and rewriting is probably the hardest part of the process. One thing most of us fail to think about is the selling. How do we market our books? How do we get our name known by the masses?
The Author Mindset, by Falcon Storm, takes a look at what it means to be an author and offers advice on the writing process and the steps to take once the story is set to paper. I listened to the Audio Book version of the book and checked it against an e-copy, but this review will include my input on the audio version as well as the content.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Author Mindset”

Book Review: Alt.Histroy 101


Book Review

What if? It is a simple question. What if I hadn’t gone to work this morning? Would I still have gotten in a car wreck in the afternoon? What if I had taken Mary to prom instead of Nancy? Would I still be a teenage father? What if?

Alt.History 101 asks, “What if?” on a much larger scale, considering the implications of small changes on a world scale. The collection of short stories is a fun, and often terrifying, glimpse at what might have been if the events of the past had changed. Each author is talented in their own right, but as a collective this work takes, “What if?” to a whole new level.

THE GOOD

The story telling collected in this book is incredible. Personally I am unfamiliar with most of the authors, but there is one I have read and reviewed before (Pavarti K. Tyler), but I think that is a situation I plan on remedying soon. Each story was well done with varying degrees of the fantastic. The personal perspective of the stories is part of what makes them so enjoyable. The dialogue and action feels real and makes the mind bending alternate histories feel like they are possible.

THE BAD

There is very little to complain about in this book or in the individual stories. A few of the stories are less straight forward in what caused the change in history, and without reading the synopses in the front of the book, the reader is left to guess what event might have caused the change. The history tackled is primarily Euro-centric, but this is a minor thing. A more global telling would be welcome, but the history is less familiar to English speakers than the history approached here.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is an excellent piece of speculative fiction. Any fan of the genre would do well to buy this anthology and read it as soon as possible. Since the intent is for this to be the first book in a series, I look forward to the next offering.

 

Book Review: Song of Secrets


Shifting was weird.

Transformation always felt like being hit in the forehead so suddenly that her consciousness fell backwards out of her body.

There was a dizzying minute while she got her bearings. She’d learned not to move during that time. Theo thought the shift ought to make a vibration like a bell being struck, but without sound. It didn’t, but the tingle of ionization, like the sensation and smell that preceded lightning, followed her through from whatever magic space her body travelled. That was that: Theo was human again.

She blinked, feeling overwhelmingly thirsty and itchy. She rubbed her face with her hands and then brushed her palms over her shoulders and down her arms, already chilly. Clothing didn’t change with her body, so she was bare as the day she was born.

Above, in the house, an alarm clanged.

Oh shit! Motion triggered? She should’ve known better. She’d been in houses where the alarm wouldn’t register the cat but would pick up a human.

Cold adrenaline shot through her blood and she grinned. Time to grab and run.

Against one wall was a long walking stick with a cloth wrap on a peg. She grabbed the stick and swung it at the nearest cases, shattering the glass. Taking the cloth wrap, she doubled it up and made a pouch of it, then walked carefully amid the shattered cases, trying to avoid the broken glass and grab what she could.

The door swung open and the older man stared at her in shock. Theo returned the favor because his pupils were no longer a cloudy gray but red and slit like a cat’s.

Wait, what?

What was he? A demon?

He opened his mouth and said a few words in a language Theo didn’t recognize. Magic?

If magic was going down, the time to book it was long passed.

Theo darted across the room, shouldered him out of the way, and sprinted up the stairs.

Over the last few days, she’d cased the place well so she knew her exit: through the garden to the place where broken bricks made the wall easy to scale. It was early spring and the ground felt spongy under Theo’s bare feet. The cool air brought goose pimples to her skin. She had tiny wave of guilt as her feet trampled the newly planted garden, but that feeling evaporated when she saw how quickly the old man moved. She figured he’d be spry and fit, but something about his movements were… unnatural. Theo didn’t have the luxury to really examine him, but it was almost as if, instead of a natural run, the old guy leaped forward in too-long bounds, almost like an animal, but even then, unnaturally so as it was more jerky than graceful.

Shit. That was creepy.

Theo made for the wall as fast as she could. The bricks were rough on her hands and feet, but she’d done this sort of thing enough—even in the dead of winter—that she had hard callouses for palms and soles.

Yep, demon or magic of some kind.

Unknown (2015-03-11T05:00:00+00:00). Song of Secrets-eBook (Kindle Locations 88-116). Level Up Press. Kindle Edition.

Booke Review

Everyone has their problems, but when those problems are multiplied by the sudden revelation that magic is real, the three young women and the young man brought to a special school where their particular talents will be explored and enhanced, they find out their not alone in their misery and that they may just need each other if they’re going to survive the challenges ahead. A cabal of humans who want to dissect those they do not understand is hunting them while they are forced to come to grips with their own tragedies and the reality of their new existence.

THE GOOD

The characters in this book are fabulous. Their flaws and talents are doled out with a pace that does not overwhelm the reader, but makes the characters feel so very human and familiar despite their supernatural gifts. The tension between them, both sexual and emotional, is perfect and enhances the story without becoming a dramatic focus that takes away from the adventure. The villains are despicable and the supporting characters are unique without overwhelming the story. The pace and telling of the story is well done and does not come off as herky-jerky despite the constant changes in point of view. The sex scenes are erotic without being erotica. There is a definite sense of the passion without taking it down a road where titillation is the end result.

THE BAD

There’s not much to complain about with this book. I wish it were a little longer, but it is obviously the first book in a series and I suppose it would be too much to ask for a complete resolution of issues in the introductory novel.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is a very good book. If you like urban fantasy or paranormal romance novels then you should definitely enjoy this book. I would definitely recommend giving it a read, but be warned, you’ll be stuck waiting for the sequel and that seems almost cruel.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

Welcome to another exciting publishing house spotlight tour from Novel Publicity. Join us as two new titles from Rachel Calish–we’re calling them the Calish Couple—tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either a $50 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of Song of Secrets by Tate Hallaway and Rachel Calish, or an autographed copy of its tour mate, The Demon Gabriella by Rachel Calish. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Calish Couple tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: Sing a song of secrets …
A shape-shifter with a penchant for breaking and entering …
A homeless boy struggling with hallucinations that could turn out to be all too real …
A monster in need of a rescue …
And a mathematical genius with a real demon of a mother …
Fate draws Theo, Gabe, Erin and Kitty to a place they jokingly call “The School for Wayward Demons.” There they learn that sinister forces threaten to invate the city of San Francisco and plot to overthrow the powers that be. Now they must choose whom to trust: the witches, the demon, or the Shaitans. Or each other.Get Song of Secrets through Amazon.

About the authors: Tate Hallaway leads a double life. By day, she’s Lyda Morehouse, a mild-mannered science fiction author of the Shamus and Philip K. Dick award-winning AngeLINK series. By night, she’s the bestselling para- normal romance and urban fantasy writer, Tate Hallaway. She’s written and published over a dozen novels (five as Lyda and nine as Tate), and together her two identities have over a decade of professional publishing experience.
Connect with Tate on her website, Twitter,or GoodReads..
Rachel Calish lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota because it’s so cold you just have to sit inside and write novels. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree by writing stories about sexy demons. A fan of games of all kinds, you can find her playing anything from the lat- est video game releases to Checkers with half the pieces missing. Under the name Rachel Gold, she writes LBGTQ Young Adult fiction.
Connect with Rachel on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..

Learn more about Song of Secrets‘s tour mate HERE.

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Book Review – Logos


BOOK REVIEW – LOGOS

Book Review

It is easy to forget that the stories written in the bible involved people outside of the main characters and their families. Real people living their lives in a time of great change were deeply effected by the coming of Jesus and the occupation of Palestine by the Romans. The priests, tradesmen, nobles and their families had to survive in a time of upheaval and chaos as the Jews tried to rise up from centuries of domination under the hands of the Persian and Romans. John Neeleman’s debut novel, Logos, is a story about the Jewish nobles of the time, the decisions they made, and the results.

THE GOOD

This is a highly detailed read filled with so many specifics about the setting that it immerses the reader into the world of first century Palestine and Jerusalem. The buildings, the politics, the dress, all come alive while reading this book. The characters and the events leap off of the page and paint a picture that is easy to lose oneself in. I am not an expert on this period, but I know enough to be impressed.  While the setting is important, I want to make sure that you understand that the characters and story are not overshadowed by the details, but rather they are enhanced by it to the point of making them seem even more real in the reader’s mind’s eye.

THE BAD

If there is a problem in this book it is in the dialogue. When they speak, the characters lose their identities. If the attributions were removed it would be hard to identify which character was saying what. There are times when the pace comes to a crawl in order for the author to explain some point or describe some aspect of the setting. While the detail is appreciated, it can slam the brakes on the pacing.

THE TAKEAWAY

Overall I enjoyed this book. I thought it offered an interesting glimpse into a period of time that is often glossed over in the history books and brings a sense of humanity to a period that had an impact on history that we still feel the repercussions of today. I would definitely recommend picking up this book, but with the caveat that due to some of the religious contexts within the book, there are people who will take offense. Relax and enjoy the story for what it is, a piece of fiction rooted in historical reality, and you will come out the other end the better for having read it.

 

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of LOGOS! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official LOGOS tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: While novels and cinema have repeatedly sought after the historical Jesus, until now none have explored what may be a more tantalizing mystery—the Christian story’s anonymous creator. Logos is a literary bildungsroman about the man who will become the anonymous author of the original Gospel, set amid the kaleidoscopic mingling of ancient cultures. Logos is a gripping tale of adventure, a moving love story, and a novel of ideas. None of this should be regarded as out of place or incompatible in a novel about Christianity’s origin. Dissent, anarchism, and revolution—and incipient Christianity was no less these things than the Bolshevik, the French or the American revolutions—inevitably have involved ideas, adventure, and romance.

In A.D. 66, Jacob is an educated and privileged Greco-Roman Jew, a Temple priest in Jerusalem, and a leader of Israel’s rebellion against Rome. When Roman soldiers murder his parents and his beloved sister disappears in a pogrom led by the Roman procurator, personal tragedy impels Jacob to seek blood and vengeance. The rebellion he helps to foment leads to more tragedy, personal and ultimately cosmic: his wife and son perish in the Romans’ siege of Jerusalem, and the Roman army destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, and finally extinguishes Israel at Masada. Jacob is expelled from his homeland, and he wanders by land and sea, bereft of all, until he arrives in Rome. He is still rebellious, and in Rome he joins other dissidents, but now plotting ironic vengeance, not by arms, but by the power of an idea.

Paul of Tarsus, Josephus, the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and even Yeshua, the historical Jesus himself, play a role in Jacob’s tumultuous and mysterious fortunes. But it is the women who have loved him who help him to appreciate violence’s dire cycle.Get LOGOS through Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: John Neeleman spends his days working as a trial lawyer in tall buildings in downtown Seattle. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children. He also represents death row inmates pro bono in Louisiana and Texas. As a novelist, his editorial model is historical fiction in a largely realistic mode, though there are hallucinatory passages that reflect Neeleman’s concern with philosophical and spiritual matters, in part a residue of his religious upbringing. He was raised as a seventh generation Mormon, and rebelled, but never outgrew his interest in metaphysical concerns.
Connect with John on his publisher’s website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads..

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Book Review – The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker


The whispering sound of its voice resounded in Fleir’s ears. To listen to the words felt like a handful of razor claws were slicing through her mind. Steeling herself, she held back the pain to glare at the intruder. “You said you didn’t come here to fight. Then why are you here?”

The Dark Fey’s gaze turned toward Nyanna then back to Fleir. “To complete my part of a bargain. Nothing more and nothing you need to be concerned about.”

It took a moment for Fleir to understand the meaning behind the Dark Fey’s words. When she did, her eyes widened as a terrifying thought occurred to her. “You’ll not have her to feast on!”

The Dark Fey laughed so hard his darkened, wrinkled flesh looked ready to tear and fall off his body. “I cannot devour a child of Fey no more than you can, sister. But others wish to have her and I will fulfill my obligation.”

“Who?” Fleir struggled to find a way to trick the Dark Fey standing before her, but all she could think of to do was protect her daughter.

The Dark Fey remained still for a moment as he studied them. The emotions his Fey sister had for the child cascaded from her in powerful waves capable of drowningany not strong enough to rise above them. The more he looked at them, the more he remembered life with his sister before he was taken from the world of light. Such a thought was rare, but it carried a powerful spell he could never refuse. So with that, he decided to warn his Fey sister of the perils in their future. “Act quickly, Sister. The time for Darkness is near and we shall not be spared from his vengeance if we fail to move.”

Fleir’s face twisted in a confused scowl. She knew Dark Fey couldn’t be trusted, but there was something different about the being. There was something behind the cold, dark eyes she didn’t expect to see. “Whose vengeance? What Darkness?” She knew it had to be powerful to concern a Dark Fey and she tried to hide her growing fear. Why hadn’t she sensed anything?

“Solaria.”

Bialois, CP (2014-11-22). The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker (pp. 325-327). CP Bialois. Kindle Edition.

book Reviews C. P. Bialois

A few years have passed since the events of The Sword and the Flame: The Purging, and the group of friends responsible for saving the world have moved on. New tasks and realities replaced the lives of adventure left behind, but time moves ever forward and whispers of a new threat rattle those that know to be afraid. The Gods are maneuvering their chosen pawns about the playing field and the question is whether or not they will be in time to face an ancient darkness bent on returning to the world of Pyrain. Continue reading “Book Review – The Sword and the Flame: The Lightwalker”