July 3, 2018

The Witchstone by Victoria Randall



The Witchstone is a romantic dark fantasy written by Victoria Randall.

Fenrulf is an orphan turned wizard planning on exacting revenge from the town that caused him too much pain. For years, and with the help of his loyal servant, he gathers the ingredients for the most powerful spell of destruction except for the last one that belongs to an exceptionally beautiful witch, the Witchstone of Sibele.    

This is a dark, chilling and suspenseful book about power, revenge, vanity, loyalty, love and self-redemption. Though the book lacks the conversational tone of the author’s most recent books, it is still an easy read. Scenes and sceneries are vividly described while the dialogues between the male and female protagonists, though traditional, sound charming and sweet.

The author created well-developed and quite relatable characters and it has been difficult for me to choose my favorite between the loyal dwarf Orog and the reclusive wizard Fenrulf. While the former is ultimately faithful and loyal to his master which is indeed an admirable quality, I found the latter’s unyielding determination laudable and his seeming indifference endearing. Finally, though I prefer a more conclusive denouement, I found the ending of the book not at all surprising.   

While the best part of the story, for me, is the depiction of self-redemption, what I like most about the book is the unpredictability. It yields that frustrating feeling one gets from failing to guess what would happen next.  

This is a great book and I enjoyed it immensely. However, I found some loose ends and unanswered questions which left a, somehow, nagging feeling.

Congratulations to Victoria Randall (@Entlover27) on such an amazing book. For more books by the author, click HERE. 

June 21, 2018

A Distant Eden by Lloyd Tackitt


A Distant Eden is a suspense and thriller novel combined with survival manual and the first book in the A Distant Eden Series created by Lloyd Tackitt.

A giant solar storm hits the earth’s magnetic field and knocks down the power grid. Consequently, all electronic equipment shut down and throws the world into chaos.

When the power at the office goes off which shuts down the computer and the office lights, Roman is alerted. Not only that, he also notices that all the cars have stopped in the interstate, a helicopter has crashed, and a jet liner has plummeted onto the ground. He immediately leaves the office with only one goal in mind, to go home to his wife Sarah.

Told in the third person perspective, it is a fast-paced, chilling, and, for me, a realistic depiction of the apocalypse. More than realistic, it is instructive. It spreads awareness and poses warning against a possible and serious threat to mankind. It portrays survival instinct in its most extreme form. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of conservation, self-preservation and self-defense.

The writing style makes the book an easy read. Furthermore, the author creates tough characters like Roman and his nephew Adrian. My favorite, however, is Matthew. He is not just smart. Even under the most unpleasant circumstances, he shows compassion and holds on to his Christian faith.

All in all, it is an enjoyable and interesting read. However, some scenes may be too violent and gory for other readers. Moreover, there are some noticeable errors within the entire book (like build fires too cook and take a several days).

Congratulations to Lloyd Tackitt (@lloydtackitt100) on such an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.         

June 2, 2018

Voyage of Pearl of the Seas by Ruth Finnegan



Voyage of Pearl of the Seas is an adventure book for preteens written by Ruth Finnegan. It is the prequel to the author’s award-winning epic romance ‘Black Inked Pearl.’

Best friends Chris and Kate, with Kate’s dog Holly, magically make a ship out of a log they found buried under the sand. Though Chris, who plans to fly the ship around the world, wants to name her Dragon, Kate successfully names her Pearl of the Seas.

However, when the time comes to sail, Kate changes her mind and turns her back leaving Chris and Holly to sail without her. Alone and regretful, Kate meets and helps an old man who helps her back in return.

This is a magical story of friendship and adventure. It features a boy and a girl who meet and learn from the kind and wise king called The King of Many Names. While the part I like most is their homecoming which reunites them to their families, the most important part of the book for me is Chris’ sacrifice in order to save Holly. It depicts how friendship is supposed to be.

However, I find the plot of the book somehow convoluted and might be difficult for young readers to follow, while the lessons imparted seem too profound for the same young readers to appreciate. Moreover, several sentences are abruptly stopped and discontinued leaving the readers to finish the sentence themselves. Also, the author seems to have a penchant for one-word sentences that some paragraphs look like a series of sentence fragments. Furthermore, I found the characters under-developed, therefore, not easy to connect with. In addition, the style of writing is not much to my liking (ex. Tumbling whirl skirl fall maul, flapping hair tumbling eyes open shutting fear what now terror hell?) Finally, I noticed some errors within the entire book (like What are holding in your hand? and they shed they burdens in peace).

Still, other readers may find it enjoyable especially those who read Black Inked Pearl.

Congratulations to Ruth Finnegan (@ruth_finnegan) on such a nice book. For more books by the author, click HERE.

Voyage of Pearl of the Seas was OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on May 29th 2018. You may check it out at OnlineBookClub.

June 1, 2018

The Fatness by Mark A. Rayner



The Fatness: A Novel of Epic Proportions is a satirical novel written by Mark A. Rayner.

Keelan Cavanaugh, a web designer for the local university’s communications department, weighs 230 pounds. With a body mass index (BMI) of over thirty, he is obese, and according to the Revised Canada Health Act, also known as the Fat Act, obese people must be placed in Uxford County Calorie Reduction Centre (CRC-17) to slim down or they lose their health care coverage. It is Keelan’s second anniversary in CRC-17 and his failure to lower down his BMI would mean losing his job for good. When Keelan meets Jacinda Williams, he has another and more important reason to lose weight and get out of the centre.

This is a moving, funny and satirical novel with a touch of sweet and delicious romance that would melt the readers’ hearts. Not only does it shed some light on the plight of corpulent people but it also depicts the prejudice, the abuse, the mockery and taunting they have to endure because of their size. Moreover, the book portrays bureaucracy in the system and features various individuals who push their own agenda at the expense of other people.

The author creates the ideal protagonist in Keelan. He is kind, smart and sweet. He is steadfast with steely determination and enviable willpower. More than those qualities, his selfless love for Jacinda will make all female readers’ heart throb with jealousy. His body may be large, but his heart is even larger.

Needless to say, I love this book. It is funny, satirical and inspiring with a little bit of suspense. Most importantly, for a portly person like myself, I find it very relatable.

However, other readers, especially those with no weight issues, might not be as sympathetic and may not enjoy the book as much as I did. Moreover, I found a couple of typo errors that mar an otherwise flawless work.  

Congratulations to Mark A. Rayner (@markarayner) on such a great book! For more books by the author, click HERE.    

The Fatness was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on May 26th 2018. You may check it out at OnlineBook Club.    

May 24, 2018

Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith



Hell Holes: What Lurks Below is a paranormal novel and is the first in the two-book Hell Holes Book Series written by Donald Firesmith.

When giant holes appear overnight along the North Slope near the Arctic Circle, Kevin Kowalski, a representative of an oil company calls geology professor from University of Alaska Fairbanks Jack Oswald to fly over and investigate. Naturally, the oil company wants Jack to find out what’s causing the formation of holes and the likelihood that another one may open up under the pipeline, in which case, the company would face financial and environmental disaster.

Right away, Jacks picks his wife and colleague, Dr. Angela Menendez, a climatologist, to come with him as well as two of his graduate students, newly- weds Mark and Jill Starr. As they are preparing for their trip to the North Slope, a mesmerizingly beautiful photo-journalist, Aileen O-Shannon, invites herself and appoints herself as the fifth member of the team.

Upon their arrival, they are met by Kevin Kowalski himself and Bill Henderson, a wildlife biologist whose job is to watch over their backs and protect them from wild animals that might interfere with their research. However, no amount of planning or safety measures would prepare them for what lurks below.

With a consistently fast pacing, the book is told in the first person perspective of Professor Jack Oswald. It is intriguing and suspenseful and as soon as the action began, it didn’t stop until the last page of the book. Quite unpredictable and with surprising revelations, this book is perfect for paranormal, suspense and horror fans.

However, it seems like the author focuses more on the plot and the scene descriptions leaving the characters a little under-developed that short back stories wouldn’t hurt. Moreover, there are some noticeable errors within the entire book (like neckless instead of necklace).

Congratulations to Donald Firesmith (@DonFiresmith) on such an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

May 18, 2018

That Place of Knowledge by Philip Alan Shalka



That Place of Knowledge is an interesting short story by Philip Alan Shalka.

Philip is an autistic, non-verbal but adventurous 15-year old boy. Assigned to him is Sabre, an autism assistance dog who loves adventures just as much as Philip does.

Sabre enjoys their routine together including walks in the morning, relaxing by the pool and going somewhere fun in the afternoon. Then one day, Philip decides to go on an adventure. He dives onto the pool followed by Sabre, swims down the bottom and opens a secret door that leads to a magical city that resembles Ancient Greek cities where they meet the philosopher Aristotle. Within the city stands a huge building that houses several hallways of every type of knowledge. Philip, with Sabre beside him, enjoys his time talking with Aristotle and learning a lot from him about life.

Told in the first person perspective of the dog Sabre, this is a profound and moving story about being different. The author, though non-verbal but apparently smart and impressively introspective, brings up very important lessons in life: self-awareness and self-acceptance. Moreover, the book emphasizes the relevance of relaxation, simplicity, happiness and contentment, among others. Finally, the author leaves food for thought that the readers could contemplate on like:  

‘Being content and satisfied are lasting forms of happiness’ and

‘The answer to the complicated questions always begins with simplicity’

This is, indeed, a great and well-written book. However, it seems like this book is written for certain types of readers as superficial ones may not appreciate it as much as those certain readers would.

Congratulations to Philip Alan Shalka (@Philip_Sabre ) on a great book! Check out this book HERE.   

May 10, 2018

Invasion of the Ortaks by Sveinn Benónýsson



Invasion of the Ortaks: The Knight is the first book in the Esthopia Sagas by Sveinn Benónýsson.

 

The world of Esthopia is divided into six kingdoms: Eniktronia, Serpenia, Antonia, Hergia, Montania and Otanga.

 

After an assassination attempt on Princess Egny, niece to King Haakon of Eniktronia and granddaughter to King Ragnar of Otanga, King Haakon sends his most trusted knight, Sir Klaus to Antonia to investigate who is behind the attempt. Meanwhile, successful merchant Christopher finds himself on the run from his home, seeking refuge in Serpenia and bearing the news about the Ortaks’ invasion.

 

This is an exciting and suspenseful book about knights, princesses, kings and elves. The author is able to keep the story interesting until the last pages. However, it seems like he focuses more on the description of fighting and battle scenes as well as on preparing the background for an apparently promising book series than on the plot. This results to a long list of names and places that are difficult to keep in mind, underdeveloped characters and inconclusive ending. Even the supposed climax of the book feels half-baked which leaves the readers feeling less satisfied than they should.

 

Still, fans of fantasy books may find it a very enjoyable book.

 

Congratulations to Sveinn Benónýsson  (@Sbenony) on the interesting first installment of such a promising saga. For more books on this series, click HERE.  

April 30, 2018

Patrick Kearney by Jack Rosewood




Patrick Kearney: The True Story of the Freeway Killer is Book 18 of True Crime by Evil Killers book series by best selling true crime author Jack Rosewood.

Patrick Kearney was a smart albeit sickly and small kid as he was growing up in Los Angeles. His short stature put him on the receiving end of insults and mockery and made him an easy target for bullies. Even then, Patrick fantasized of various ways to commit murder.

So, with his innocent and nerdy looks, Patrick lured unsuspecting boys and young men, killed them, raped them, dismembered them and disposed them in industrial-sized garbage bags.

This is an informative book about a prolific serial killer that spread terror and inspired fear in the hearts of Californians in the 70s. The book is not only coherent but also told in detached manner and sounds quite objective. The descriptions of the crime are remarkably detailed without being graphic but vivid enough to evoke empathy for the victims of the horrendous crimes.

What I find most important in this book is the depiction of the effects of bullying. If the book is to be believed, Patrick’s urge to kill, rape and dispose of his victims was his way of exacting revenge on those people who bullied him as a child. Though not all bullied children turned out to be serial killers when they grew up, Patrick Kearney’s life might have turned out differently if he wasn’t bullied.

If there’s something to like in Patrick Kearney’s story, that would be his sincere love for his partner David Hill evident in Patrick’s taking sole responsibility for the murders vindicating David of any participation in the crimes.

Except for a few noticeable errors, this is a great book perfect for fans of true crime stories. Congratulations to Jack Rosewood on an enjoyable book! For more books by the author, click HERE.

April 26, 2018

Interview with Author Sheldon D. Newton


Hello there! I’m so thrilled to let you know I have been granted a Q&A by another great book author, Mr. Sheldon D. Newton. I had the honor of reviewing three of Sheldon’s books: Genna’s Fight, Thrown Away and Genna’s Ghost. All of them are uplifting and inspiring Christian Fiction novels that depict love, kindness, patience, determination and perseverance among others. Most importantly, they promote FAITH: faith in God, faith in other people and faith in oneself. I feel so proud to be given the opportunity to know Sheldon through this Q&A and I’m so happy to share this Q&A with you.



Sheldon D. Newton is a Number One best-selling author, teacher and international speaker, whose goal is to share with others their worth and value and how to embrace and fulfill their Divine purpose. For over thirty years Sheldon D. Newton is on a mission to share the foundational and practical keys to successful and victorious living, through the application of Biblical Truths which transforms lives. He is a noted author, and the senior pastor of Jesus Christ Centered Ministries, located in Nassau, Bahamas. His teachings on Kingdom living and the power of prayer will ignite you and enable you to live effectively and produce results in your personal, family and professional life.

Sheldon is the author of many books, including the 30 day life-changing devotional, MyName is Jealous; the Number One best-selling, How To Pray & Get Results; HowTo Live The Christian Life Successfully....Victoriously; Diligence, The Master Key To Achieving YourDreams; Genna's Fight (A Novel), & Humility & the Honor Of God (which is hailed as a Christian Classic). Sheldon lives in Nassau with his wife and two children.

(-from Sheldon D. Newton’s Amazon Author Page)

Q. How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I depend a lot upon inspiration. Much of the time titles just seem to come to me. I believe in God, so I believe He brings these inspirations to my heart. Also, I can get inspired to write a book just by watching people interact with each other. Sometimes when I see a situation occur, I would run a story through my mind of how I would have wanted that situation to go. So, what I am saying is that inspiration can come from anywhere. You just have to be looking for it.

Q. When, for you, is the best time to write?

I am actually not regimented to a particular time. I write during the day, and during the night. When I get an idea for a book, the inspiration for the entire book floats around in me until I basically see the whole picture in a matter of hours, or maybe a day. Then whenever I sit down to write it just flows. It’s amazing.

Q. Who or what inspired you to write your first book?

I would have to answer that by saying I believe the Bible gave me the inspiration to write my first book. It was actually based upon a subject I was studying in the Bible. It was, of course, a non-fiction book. As it pertains to my first fiction book, I believe it may have been in part because my mom was a victim of spousal abuse. My dad drank a lot, and when he did, he became violent. My mom actually left him in order to protect me. She told me that when I was a baby, he took me and threw me against a wall. That was when she decided to leave him. I hate spousal abuse, regardless of who it comes through, husband or wife. That is probably where the inspiration came from in writing “Genna’s Fight.”

Q. What is your ultimate dream as a book author?

Truthfully, I would like to help a lot of people, and inspire them to reach for their goals and dreams. I want to give people hope. All of my novels carry a basic message. That message is that regardless of what one may have experienced, and gone through, there is still hope. They do not have to give up. I want to get my books in the hands of millions of people, and hear stories of how they helped to perhaps change their lives. I would love that.

Q. What is the best thing about being a writer?

Hmmm, well, I would answer that like this. First, I love being a writer and an author. When I saw my first book, the way I felt was indescribable. And after all the books I have written, I still feel so blessed to be able to know I am an author. Second, I get thrilled when I discover that my books are being read and enjoyed by people all over the world. I do have one more desire, and that is to one day see some of my books become movies. As an author I feel I am doing what I was born to do. It is a part of my purpose for being.

Q. What are your purposes in writing books?

My first reason for writing books is to use my God-given gift and fulfill my purpose for being. It is just in me to write, and perhaps make a meaningful difference in someone’s life. Second, I write to help others by giving them the information and inspiration they need to make better life’s choices, and therefore change things in their lives. I love helping people. It is what I live for. Third, I love giving people hope. I believe that, regardless of what one has gone through, things can change for the better if they know what to do, and how to do it. In my writings, whether fiction or non-fiction, I aim to always give someone hope. Yes, I love to entertain through my novels. But to me, just entertaining without using the vehicle of books to inspire, give hope and uplift is a waste of time. People need hope. So I trust that I can provide entertainment, yes, but hope as well.

Q. When did you realize you wanted to write a book?

I would have to say that it was probably over twenty plus years ago. I wanted to write books with Bible lessons in them. I actually did not think I could write a novel. I have a dear friend whose mind is very creative. Whenever he would describe something, I am always amazed at how his mind seems to work. He could describe a scene in a way that was astounding. He is detailed.  I often spoke with him about doing a novel. I mean, I spoke with him about him writing a novel. I never thought I had a detailed mind to write one myself. However, one day, I just decided, after writing many non-fiction books, that I would write a novel. I wrote “Genna’s Fight.” I was amazed at the awesome acceptance it received. People both here and abroad were telling me how much they enjoyed it, and I was asked to do a sequel, which I just released, “Genna’s Ghost.” Some even suggested, (on amazon) that it needs to be made a movie. I am amazed.

Q. What is your favorite book?

Of course, my all-time favorite is the Bible. My favorite novel is a book by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen called, “The One Minute Millionaire.” The book is unique in that it has two sides to it. On the left hand side it is “non-fiction” on the principles of success. On the right hand side is a “novel,” a touching story about a mother who was about to lose her own children unless she ….. (Don’t want to give away the plot.) The story is so gripping, moving and inspiring that I had to read it to the end to see what would happen. I love that story.

Q. If “ Genna’s Fight” is ever turned into a movie, who would you like to play the role of “Genna” and why?

It is my earnest hope that Genna’s Fight gets turned into a movie. Domestic violence is so rampant and people who are victims to this evil need to see that they are not alone, and that there is hope and help if they desire it. I would love for either “Taraji P. Henson,” or “Thandie Newton to act the part of “Genna.” I believe that any one of them would be able to show and depict clearly Genna’s struggle and pain, as well as her power when she found her sanity and soundness. I have watched both women in movies in the past, so I know one of them can do a superb job with it. By the way, I can envision “Viola Davis” as “Carol,” and “Denzel Washington” or “Blair Underwood” as “Tom and Reggie” respectively.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would advise aspiring writers to realize that you have something to say. I am not asking if you have something to say. I am telling you that you do. One of my favorite authors said, and I quote, “Everyone has at least one good book in them.” This means you do have something to say. It may take you several times before you hit that one good book in you and get it out. But then again, it may come out the first time and make a “marked difference” in the life of others, and in your own life as well. So, write your book. I also would like to encourage you to “begin.” Master procrastination and get started. This is the major place where many people fail. They never start because they keep putting it off. Now why do people procrastinate? The reasons vary. Some procrastinate because they are afraid of what people may think of their writing. “Suppose they do not like it?” The truth is that most likely someone may not. But “someone” is not “everyone.” There is guaranteed to be someone who will enjoy your writing. So, write. Another fear people have is that they wonder if what they are writing will make any sense. That is what editors and friends are for. Ask for their opinion. Ask for their help. Never allow fear to stop you. Finally, develop a habit of writing every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. This will keep your mind active, and if you are consistent, and persistent, you will finish. So, these would be my advice to aspiring writers. 

April 24, 2018

Genna's Ghost by Sheldon D. Newton



Genna’s Ghost (Will she be able to win this war?) is the sequel to Genna’sFight (Will she be able to discover her true self and get her son back intime?), an inspiring Christian fiction written by Sheldon D. Newton.

Decades had passed and Genna is now in her early seventies, a celebrated book author, extremely wealthy, married to her friend Reggie and enjoys Samuel, her son from her first marriage and Carol, her daughter with Reggie. The abuse Genna has suffered at the hands of her first husband is now a distant memory. Life seems perfect.

Then, Genna starts having strange and disturbing dreams. Her seemingly perfect world is rocked as the ghost of her painful past seems to haunt her and push her into depression and destroy the beautiful life she has with the ones she loves.

This is yet another inspiring book by author Sheldon D. Newton. It depicts the unbreakable bond that binds a family together. It shows how family members stick together and protect each other not only to keep each other safe but also to keep others safe from them.

Moreover, it portrays the importance of patience, kindness and love. Most importantly, the book shows the healing power of forgiveness: forgiving other people and forgiving oneself.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book with a relatable plot. However, the descriptions seem too detailed that they sometimes sound unnatural. Moreover, though the book can be a standalone, it can be better appreciated if the readers read the first book and the writing style can be too formal for casual and easy reading. Furthermore, some readers may find some parts of the story quite difficult to believe. Finally, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book that detract from the overall reading experience (like breath instead of breathe, mainwhile instead of meanwhile, whose instead of who’s and some misplaced quotation marks).

Congratulations to Sheldon D. Newton (@sheldondnewton) on such an enjoyable book. For more books by the author, click HERE