Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Stolen Chaos by A.C. Nicholls

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Synopsis:

For twenty-eight years, Keira Poe has defended Chicago against creatures of the night. Armed with an array of magic weapons known as ‘magicards’, she is always eager to show trouble to the door. But when one of those cards is stolen by a ruthless mage, there’s nothing she won’t do to get it back.

In order to succeed, Keira – along with her cowardly, middle-aged faery – must follow the trail of carnage. Stopping for a battle at every turn, any hope of locating the thief only gets slimmer… until she meets Jason; the handsome shifter with a chip on his shoulder, and the only help she will get.

The war between the monsters grows greater than ever. Caught in the middle of it all, Keira must pick a side and stick with it, or risk losing her magic forever, along with anything the mage chooses to destroy.

D.S. Williams Review:

This is the first book in A.C. Nicholls Cardkeeper Chronicles.  The book certainly had some merits, it was a new and refreshing take on urban fantasy, and I did complete reading the book and have to say I enjoyed it. The characters are interesting, and for the most part likeable, although I did struggle to develop any real connection to the main characters and didn’t develop the desire to care particularly deeply for any of them. Having said that, the characters did show development, and the pacing of the story and the story arc were interesting.
The main reasons for three stars?
1. The story is written in first person, and while this is usually not a problem to me, in this instance, there was an overwhelming amount of ‘me’ and ‘my’ in the writing, which got a little bit annoying. With a little forethought and greater consideration, I think A.C. Nicholls might have been able to cut back significantly on the usage of those words.
2. There are a few situations in which the wrong spelling of a word has been used, which detracted from the overall reading flow.
3. I found the character of Link a little bit confusing. From the very beginning, it was said that he was 5 inches tall, but there were a number of points in the story where Keira’s interactions with Link made this seem a little odd. For instance, Keira ‘wraps Link up in both arms’ when she’s hugging him… which seems a little extraordinary for a faery who is only five inches tall. That’s not much faery to use both arms on.
Overall, the story was entertaining, bringing new concepts and direction to urban fantasy and I applaud the concept… but would have like to have seen it executed just a little more smoothly.
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Secrets of the Hanged Man by Bruce Blake

SECRETS OF THE HANGED MAN

Icarus Fell Series, Book 3

by Bruce Blake

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Icarus Fell thought the afterlife couldn’t get any worse…until Hell came looking for him.

When you are the orphaned child of a disgraced nun, and you’re saddled with a ridiculous name like Icarus Fell, you don’t expect things can go drastically downhill.
Until death comes along and an archangel recruits you for a job you screw up so badly you nearly lose your son to a demonic priest and a fallen angel.
And then, burdened by the lives lost because of your foul ups, you travel to Hell, a detour that costs you more dearly then you could ever have imagined.
No, things couldn’t get much worse in the afterlife…unless Satan sends his lap dog to bring back the one thing he thinks belongs to him.
You.
Why couldn’t death be easy?

Continue reading “Secrets of the Hanged Man by Bruce Blake”

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On Unfaithful Wings by Bruce Blake

 

ON UNFAITHFUL WINGS

Icarus Fell Series, Book 1
by Bruce Blake
Genre: Urban Fantasy
To some, death is the end; to others, a beginning. To Icarus Fell, it should have been a relief from a life gone seriously awry.
But death had other plans.
Icarus doesn’t believe that the man awaiting him when he wakes up in a cheap motel room is really the archangel Michael, or that God’s right hand wants him to help souls on their way to Heaven. Icarus doesn’t believe there’s a Heaven, so why should they want his help?
But the man claiming to be the archangel tempts him with an offer he can’t ignore–harvest enough souls and get back the life he wished he’d had.
It seems Icarus has nothing to lose, until he botches a harvest and the soul that went to Hell instead of Heaven comes back to make him pay by threatening to take away the life he hoped to win back.
To save the wife and son he already lost once, Icarus will have to become the man he never was. Somehow, he will have to learn to believe.

Continue reading “On Unfaithful Wings by Bruce Blake”

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Rise of the Alpha by Lorenz Font

RISE OF ALPHA – THE PRODIAN JOURNEY
 by
Lorenz Font
 Official genre of book: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy/Coming-of-age

All Brian Morrison wants is to be an ordinary teenager with normal teenage problems, but his uncontrollable twitching and phonic tics make that impossible. The butt of jokes in school, he is nothing but a laughing-stock until a visit to a local tarot shop turns his life upside-down.
The psychic’s strange prediction thrusts him into a mysterious world of ghastly creatures and bizarre events, and he must come to terms with the abrupt changes if he is going to survive. One mother’s plea for help presents him with an impossible challenge, but it also brings him closer to the most popular girl in school. Brian must overcome threats from all sides to honor his promise, and he is determined to succeed. His heart won’t let him turn his back on someone in need, especially when he’s fallen in love with her.
Protecting Shannon McKesson soon becomes the greatest purpose of his life. Brian discovers many things on this new journey, but the biggest one might be the truth about who he is. If only he and Shannon can stay alive long enough to unlock the mystery. 

“Bro, you’re acting weird today—weirder than usual, anyway. I know you well enough to know something’s up, so spill the fava beans!” Mark made that Hannibal Lecter hissing sound from one of our favorite movies.
“Yeah, you ran out of that psychic shop like you’d seen a ghost.” Darryl seconded. “Then you got sick and wouldn’t answer our calls until this morning. Spill, dude.”
I wavered between the truth or a lie about what had happened over the past few days. Telling them would also mean I had to tell them about Shannon. For some selfish reason, I wanted to keep her all to myself. My own little secret.
“We’re your best friends, in case you’ve forgotten. We’ve shared dirty secrets since middle school,” Mark reminded me.
As long as I could remember, these two had been watching my back.
I still hesitated, but the overwhelming need to share my fears with them overcame the urge to keep Shannon to myself.
“Fine. It’s weird, and I expect you to keep this on the down-low, aʼight?”
They nodded.
“That night at Madame Elizabeth’s, she said something that scared the crap out of me. I know it was bogus, but it freaked me out bad.”
“What did she say?” they asked in unison.
I mimicked Shannon’s mom. “With your curse comes a blessing.”
“Really?” Mark narrowed his eyes. “That scared the shit out of you?”
“Yeah.” I was sure they’d start making fun of me, but when neither of them said anything, I continued. “She’s creepy, bro.”
Again, there was silence except for the crunching sound of their chewing, and the music of the forgotten video game’s menu screen.
After a moment, Darryl began picking at his ear piercings, a nervous habit of his. “Okay, fine. Madame Elizabeth confused the hell out of me with my reading. I got the man hanging upside down. She said that it symbolized self-sacrifice and adapting to changes. Like there’s going to be a pause in my life until I give up something for the greater good. So I asked what it really meant, because my creep-o-meter shot through the roof. She said that my friend would be going through a transition and I needed to be there for him.”
Mark and I looked at each other while Darryl resumed his assault on the chips.

“Who is transitioning?” I asked, not sure what it meant.

Mark raised both hands and shook his head with a grin. “Don’t look at me. My voice doesn’t squeak. I’m circumcised, and all cylinders are a go.”
I socked Mark in the arm. “You’re stupid.”
“What did Madame E tell you?” Darryl asked him.
He was thoughtful for a moment. “Well, mine was kinda freaky, too. She had me pick a card, and I got temperance. She said it meant I had self-control and was able to handle tough situations, but that I had to deal with impatience and conflict. It could also mean angels and guardian spirits were around, but in my case, she said I was it.” He sighed and looked over at me. “Go figure what that means. Anyway, now you can tell us whatever it is you’re holding back.”
Cornered, I knew it was time to tell them about the dreams. I turned my desk chair around and straddled it. “That night, I started having weird dreams. First, this creature was chasing after Shannon McKesson. It was all a blur. I went back to sleep and dreamed something different. This random woman was being bitten by a rattlesnake. It was like I was there watching it happen. Then the next day, there she was in the news.”
I stopped to take a deep breath, and my friends stared at me like I’d lost my marbles. “See, I told you it’s weird. But that’s not all. I dreamed about Shannon and the weird creature again. It woke me up. I went back to sleep, I had another dream. This time, there was a girl running away from a man, and he was holding a bat. I could see everything around them, but I had no idea where they were. The next day, Shannon came over, and she and my mom were watching the—”
“Hold it right there! Shannon was here?” Disbelief was all over Mark’s face. Darryl stopped chewing, mirroring Mark’s surprise.
My secret was out. “Yeah, she came over when I didn’t show up for class yesterday.” I tried to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. 

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A professional daydreamer, Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Since being published in 2013, she has been conspiring, butting heads, and enjoying her spare time with vampires, angels, samurais, and other creatures she has created in her head.
Her perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch (a.k.a. the office) with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her ever-growing music collection. She finds writing urban fantasy exhilarating and places an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
Lorenz lives in Southern California with her supportive family and three demanding dogs.
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Posted in Blog Tours

Rise of Alpha – Lorenz Font

RISE OF ALPHA – THE PRODIAN JOURNEY
by
Lorenz Font
Official genre of book: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy/Coming-of-age

All Brian Morrison wants is to be an ordinary teenager with normal teenage problems, but his uncontrollable twitching and phonic tics make that impossible. The butt of jokes in school, he is nothing but a laughing-stock until a visit to a local tarot shop turns his life upside-down.
The psychic’s strange prediction thrusts him into a mysterious world of ghastly creatures and bizarre events, and he must come to terms with the abrupt changes if he is going to survive. One mother’s plea for help presents him with an impossible challenge, but it also brings him closer to the most popular girl in school. Brian must overcome threats from all sides to honor his promise, and he is determined to succeed. His heart won’t let him turn his back on someone in need, especially when he’s fallen in love with her.

Protecting Shannon McKesson soon becomes the greatest purpose of his life. Brian discovers many things on this new journey, but the biggest one might be the truth about who he is. If only he and Shannon can stay alive long enough to unlock the mystery.

VOYANT’s purple neon sign welcomed us when we walked into the dark, rather dingy room. The scent of burning incense was heavy, and I faltered, not digging the eerie atmosphere. The black walls were lined with wall hangings of different tarot card characters, which seemed to be smirking at anyone dumb enough to buy their bogus predictions. Mark glanced over his shoulder at me with an unspoken challenge, leaving me no choice but to follow him to the counter.
The girl behind the counter looked up, her expression one of boredom. I recognized her immediately and stopped in my tracks, my mouth gaping open.
Shannon McKesson?
Whoa! Shannon was the epitome of popularity. She was pretty in that girl-next-door type of way. Her blond hair bounced on her shoulders like girls’ did in television commercials. Her eyes were bluer than my mother’s, and she had that mature persona most teenagers would die for. I had been watching her all these years, unable to take my eyes off her whenever she drove her yellow Beetle into the school parking lot or walked through the campus with the sure kind of grace only confident people possessed.
Darryl shifted next to me and pushed my chin up, closing my mouth. I coughed, realizing I’d already made my first blunder of the night. And it didn’t even have anything to do with my tics.
“Hi, Shannon. We’re here for a tarot reading. I called earlier to make an appointment,” Mark said, sounding like a real tarot junkie.
“Oh, yeah. Larry, Curly, and Moe.” She hopped off the barstool and checked off our names in the appointment book.
Mark and Darryl quickly pointed at me. “He’s Curly!”

Of all the things these bastards could do, they had to put me in the spotlight. They knew I hated the attention. I felt my face burning from embarrassment but decided to play along, shuffling my feet for maximum effect. What came next was a reward for my efforts. Shannon laughed, the sound a sweet mix of tolling bells.

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A professional daydreamer, Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Since being published in 2013, she has been conspiring, butting heads, and enjoying her spare time with vampires, angels, samurais, and other creatures she has created in her head.
Her perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch (a.k.a. the office) with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her ever-growing music collection. She finds writing urban fantasy exhilarating and places an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
Lorenz lives in Southern California with her supportive family and three demanding dogs.