Tag Archives: Fantasy

Release Day!

Today is a very special day and I am very excited to tell the world that my debut fantasy novel, The Reluctant Prophet, has been released! I feel very lucky and fortunate to have had this opportunity and it is something I have dreamt about for a long time. I need to thank everyone who has had their part in supporting me throughout; family, friends, Grimbold Books (Kristell Ink), (and you all know who you are if I’ve missed anyone) and I would like to express to all of you my everlasting gratitude! Thank you.

THE COVER TRP

It can now be purchased here:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Prophet-ebook/dp/B00EX6BC5O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378062851&sr=1-1&keywords=the+reluctant+prophet+gillian

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reluctant-Prophet-Gillian-ORourke/dp/1909845183/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378043538&sr=1-1&keywords=the+reluctant+prophet

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/353111

Wizard’s Tower: http://www.wizardstowerbooks.com/products/the-reluctant-prophet-gillian-orourke

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Month of Reads – August

This months reviews are again a little thin on the ground, but I read a couple of beauties and I am delighted to share my thoughts on them with you! Happy reading folks!

The Reapers Are the Angels (Reapers, #1)

The Reapers are the Angels – Alden Bell

Plot – Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

Review – I admit that I am partial to the post apocalyptic novels, though I don’t often read zombie ones. This book caught my eye as I was browsing the old Kindle section on Amazon and thought it looked like a fairly decent read. That said, I couldn’t put it down.

Temple is only a young woman, still in her teens. She’s a special sort of person, more an old wise soul than a teenager, and a fascinating character at that. She’s strong and independent, well able to look after herself despite the United States being infested with zombies. (Meatskins as Temple calls them, or slugs).

Travelling, she finds a colony of survivors living in a couple of office blocks. She catches the eye of the distasteful Abraham. Of course, a situation arises where they don’t meet eye to eye and Temple comes out the better for it. However, it brings the unwanted attention of Moses Todd, Abraham’s brother, who is seeking vengeance. The play between these two very similar personalities is intense and a strange sort of respect forms between them during the cat and mouse play that then ensues.

This fascinating book might contain zombies and other horrid creatures, but it really focuses on the characters and the dynamics between them. Really enjoyed this book and there are a few surprises along the way I certainly did not expect.

A couple of things people might find odd in this book are the lack of quotation marks for speech and it takes a little while to get used to that and imagining a southern type drawl to the voices.

Rating – Ya’ll deserve 4 outta 5 stars

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Guardians of Evion – Evelinn Enoksen

Plot – “…cantankerous dragons, evil, ambitious immortals and heroic telepaths who
will sacrifice everything to save their loved ones and their volcanic world …
a romantic, adventurous science fiction saga that begs for a sequel.”
Kirkus
Review

Numak believes his destiny is to be a Rider; but when his life is turned upside down by a beautiful young woman and a mysterious ancient, he learns he is far more extraordinary than he could have imagined.

On the harsh world of Evion, a wild place of storms and earthquakes, Numak Teorenn, a young telepath, is sent to study at the Tarei Waystation in the mountains of Suli. All
Numak wants, other than to become one of the revered Dragonriders, is to find
answers regarding the mysterious death of his twin sister.

He soon learns that his life has a greater purpose, for which nothing has prepared him, and his understanding of reality and of his own being is transformed. When he discovers
the truth of his destiny should he fight it or embrace it? Will he have any
choice at all?

A strange and compelling narrative which encompasses philosophy, adventure and romance within a richly imagined world, embellished with the author’s own extraordinary art.

Review – This fast paced adventure encompasses everything that is good in fantasy and from the very first page, I knew I was going to like this very much. By the end, I loved it . . . And who doesn’t love dragons?

Numak Teorenn is a telepath who wants to become a Dragonrider and discover the truth surrounding his missing twin sister. Sent to study at the Tarei waystation, it isn’t long before the naïve Numak is drawn into trouble and discovers that his destiny is greater than he could have imagined.

The world Enoksen has created is so beautifully wrought, every detail imagined minutely. The book contains some of the authors own amazing artwork, and really adds some lovely touches to the whole story, giving you a visualisation of the world you never though possible. Along with this, there are other characters along with Numak, who add depth and emotion to the story, by bringing their own pasts and emotions with them. The dynamic mix of adventure, imagination, hints of romance and the discoveries the main protagonist faces while he searches for the truth make this a multi-layered and exciting read.

All the while, the characters must face some painful truths while they try to fight an enemy who seems far stronger than they are. And the evil Ilya . . . She spices up an already heady cocktail of fantasy and I can only imagine the fun the author had in creating her bad self. The subtle blending of the science fiction elements work very well within the story, but I have to admit, the surprising and cranky dragons occasionally steal the show!

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars (mind that one in the sky…)

Healer’s Touch

This month, the Bandits are promoting the excellent steampunk, western, fantasy epic, Healer’s Touch, by Deb E Howell! This New Zealand author has a flair of her own!

HEALER’S TOUCH

Deb E Howell

For Llew to heal, something must die.

Llew, a young pickpocket who lives as a boy on the streets of a wild-west mining town, finds her real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them across the badlands. On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits and, the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer. One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife able to ‘kill the unkillable’; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.

During the journey, they encounter Braph the magician, Jonas’ half-brother and potential nemesis. He pursues them as they journey across the sea to the continent of Phyos and at the moment Llew finally feels safe, he abducts her. He begins to take what is most precious to him: her blood.

Healer’s Touch is a mesmerising mix of fantasy, steampunk and Wild West adventure – and even a dash of romance!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deb E, Author - Dunedin, New Zealand

Bio:

Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction.

Deb lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her family and a menagerie of pets.

Links:

Website/Blog: http://deberelene.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deberelene

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/deberelene

and many more…

Excerpt from Healer’s Touch

 “Llew!”

He gathered her to him. So alive moments earlier, now limp. All he could see was blood. It covered her hands, soaked her shirt and pooled on the ground. He clasped her chin, turning her to him. The touch sent a tingle through his fingers even as more blood gushed from her open throat and he jerked his hand away, letting her head fall back. His eye was drawn by movement in the grass. One of Llew’s hands had fallen to the ground and the grass around it was dying in an ever increasing circle.

Jonas swallowed down his revulsion and dumped her unceremoniously on the ground, jumping to his feet. In a daze, he reclaimed his knives from the corpses, taking them to the water’s edge to clean with vigorous sweeps of his fingers down the blades. He berated himself for even toying with the idea of getting involved with her. What did he really know about her? He knew her name. And now he knew all he needed to know.

He wiped the half-clean blades on his thigh, sheathed them in his vest and drew the big knife at his hip. He cradled it in his hands, watching the moonlight fly off as he tilted it back and forth. There was one purpose to this knife’s existence: to kill the unkillable. And there was no safer time to make an attempt on the life of an Aenuk than when they were already half dead.

Jonas turned from the water. The meadow was now like a hayfield. Each blade of grass, each leaf of clover, each dandelion had given its all to provide but a tiny fraction of the energy – jin, as it was known in Turhmos – needed to bring a person back from near-death.

She lay unconscious, but her breathing was steady now. He had limited time to act. He crouched beside her, knife hovering over her back right where her heart should be, assuming Aenuks had a heart. But this was Llewella. She wasn’t like the Aenuks he had faced on the Turhmos killing fields. She wasn’t trained to fight, to continue to fight, and to take the enemy with her when she faced final death. She was merely a girl doing what she had to do to survive.

 

PURCHASE LINKS

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/323265

Amazon US (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DJE8NSK/

Amazon UK (Kindle): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Healers-Touch-ebook/dp/B00DJE8NSK/

 

MY REVIEW – I purchased Healer’s Touch on Kindle and read it in a couple of sittings. I really enjoyed this – it has a fast pace and well developed characters, especially the MC, Llew, whose healing talent is a blessing and curse (depending on who and what you are). Along with a sympathetic and gutsy MC, there are a host of other great characters. I have a certain soft spot for the strong and brooding Jonas, and despised the baddie of the piece, Braph. To have such reactions to characters is a mark of good writing in my opinion. In particular, the tenuous (and tongue-in-cheek) relationship that develops between Jonas and Llew is very well handled, in light of the fact that Jonas has the implement which can kill Llew. And the book is full of such moments, which leave you wondering what will happen next!

It was a completely unique reading from the get go and the first book I have come across that has a mix of western, fantasy and steam-punk elements, and as I said in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The world-building was very well detailed and I got a keen sense of the world and peoples Deb E Howell has created.

In saying that, I’m now really looking forward to the next instalment in the series. The ending of the first book left me wanting to know more – there were hints of drama and trials to come, so I guess I’ll just have to be patient!

Excerpt from The Reluctant Prophet

Things are getting very exciting now and it won’t be long until my debut novel is available! Just to whet the appetite, I’ve posted an excerpt from the first chapter for everyone to look at. Hopefully it captures your imagination and interest. Press the link below to read the excerpt.

The Reluctant Prophet – Excerpt from Chapter One

THE COVER TRP  Esther

Month of Reads… MAY

This is a new idea I’m trying out for my blog, which I’ve called, Month of Reads.  I thought I’d give you short and sweet reviews of books I’ve read over the last month and hopefully, I’ll remember to update it around the same time next month.

WARNING – you may see a lot of  Fantasy, YA and Sci-Fi in the list!

Image   Smuggler’s KissMarie-Louise Jenson.

Genre – YA, historic

Plot: It’s not a crime to steal a heart

Smugglers are cut-throat rascals. At least that’s what Isabelle’s always been told. But when she’s rescued from drowning at sea by the crew of a notorious smuggling ship, her principles are thrown into confusion. Outwitting the king’s men fills her with excitement, especially when she’s with one mysterious smuggler in particular . . .

Review: I found this book quite by accident after buying another book.  After reading this and a couple other of Jenson’s books, I admit to becoming a fan.  Jenson’s easy style translates well and it’s easy to see she’s done a lot of research into her characters, place, time and period detail.  The development of the main protagonist comes about as one would hope reading a historical coming-of-age book – Isabelle is spoiled, hot-headed, but completely likeable, despite her general ignorance.  But her development to being more understanding, braver and less whingey, comes about through strife, misunderstandings as well as hints of romance.  There’s plenty of adventure and like all excellent books, you’re a little sad to part from it.

Rating – An easy 5 out of 5

Image   Grave MercyR.L LaFevers

Genre: Historic, Fantasy, YA

Plot: Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review: As soon as I read the plot summary, I was like, ‘sounds like my kind of book’ and my gut-feeling was correct!  It is the first book in the His Fair Assassin ­series and since I’ve read this, I have gone on to read its terrific sequel, Dark Triumph.

Although LaFevers’ MC, Ismae is initially a distraught character, she is also very strong.  This is seen in her acceptance of the Order and the will of St Mortain.  However, what I loved about the book is the de-construction of everything is knows as she begins to follow her heart and not just what she is told to accept and do.  Great characters and loads of intrigue.  Only minor hiccup in the beginning was the startling resemblance to the start of Jacqueline Carey’s novel, Cushiel’s Dart, but I soon realised the books are different.  A thoroughly enjoyable read, especially if you like intrigues, twists and turns and hints of romance.

Rating:  A strong 5 out of 5

Image  Fire and ThornsRae Carson (known also as, The Girl of Fire and Thorns)

Genre – Fantasy

Plot: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

Review: This was another book I found by accident.  I liked the look of it and the blurb was intriguing enough.  In fairness, it took me a little time to warm to the MC, Elisa, who was crippled with self-doubt, a voracious appetite and a lazy attitude.  But as the plot thickens and Elisa begins to discover some self-worth, you warm to her.  A lot happens in this book, intrigues, adventure and of course, what book can go wrong with sprinklings of romance?  It’s a well written fare, with a mixture of irritating and endearing characters.  Also a lot of world building – and unique settings, running from desert, to jungle, to a land that felt slightly as though it was set in Death Valley (or maybe that was just how I imagined it!) Parts of the novel were quite sad too.  Overall a good, entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rating:  A solid 4 out of 5

Image    After the Ending Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

Genre: Post Apocalyptic

Plot:  When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them—with the rest of the world—but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was so wrong. My name is Dani O’Connor, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’ve been stripped of my home, my dreams…all that is me. I’m someone else now—broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe Cartwright, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing—we’ll do anything to reach one another. Fear and pain may be unavoidable, but we’re strong…we’re survivors. But to continue surviving in this unfamiliar world plagued by Crazies and strange new abilities, we have to adapt. We have to evolve.

And more than anything, we have to find each other.

Review:  Yes, the plot is long, however, it had me intrigued and I do admit to being a bit of a sucker when it comes to post-apocalyptic works.  The first few pages weren’t all that bad either, but as I read on, I became more and more disillusioned with this disappointing book.  Part of me feels the best part of the book was written in the plot.  The book doesn’t hold any true horror of what one might imagine if a Virus has decimated most of the world’s population.  It’s written in a passing thought kind of way.  I feel the book is truly a chick-lit novel, thinly disguised beneath the sci-fi, post-apocalyptic tag.  I found the characters vapid and shallow and I’m generally fairly easy to please.  It is written from the POV of two women that go on more about their desire for the man next to them than the horror of their situation, whilst keeping in contact via e-mail.   SO disappointed this unrealistic book didn’t live up to my expectations.

A very sad 1 out of 5 (And I feel bad writing this review…)

Image  The 5th WaveRick Yancy

Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, YA

Plot: The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review:  This is more like it!  This post-apocalyptic book from Yancey is what I imagine a good, clever and twisty ‘end-of-worlder’ to be.  It is written from the POV’s of a few of the characters, but mainly through the resourceful and brave Cassie, who is trying to save her younger brother, and the determined and disillusioned Zombie (Ben).  It’s clever, action packed and full of flawed, but progressive characters.  There’s plenty of twists and chapter cliff hangers and I enjoyed the way the characters became entwined as the book ventures on.  There are some fairly dark questions and at times it’s hard to tell the bad-invading aliens from the humans.  Far more clever, realistic and entertaining than the previous review.

Rating: A very happy 4 out of 5