December 31, 2017

The Golden Helm by Victoria Randall



The Golden Helm:  More Tales from the Edge of Sleep is a wonderful collection of beautiful short stories written by Victoria Randall.

The book boasts of twelve interesting stories most of them quite thought-provoking, some are amusing and entertaining, while some call for self-examination.

Though I enjoyed reading all of them, my favorites include The Golden Helm, Parenthood by Choice Inc. Invests in a Time Machine, Edith’s Gift and Scent of Evil. These stories present choices. Through these well-conceived and well-written albeit relatively short stories the author portrayed situations in which the protagonist is given choices that test his/her character.

While I find the Incident in the Library and Dragonfire quite amusing and entertaining, Apple Seed and Influence are somehow thought-provoking, whereas Dinosaur Voices, Beyond the Cavern of Madmen, Silent Presence and The Unicorn in the Garden carry serious and profound messages.

The book, ultimately, displays the author’s writing skills in both the fantasy and science fiction genre. The stories are all easy to read and understand and with the book having various themes including power, morality, fear, freedom, kindness, influence, ingenuity, moral values and humanity, all of them leave something to think about.

Congratulations to Victoria Randall (@Entlover27) on such a great collection!        

December 23, 2017

Crossing the Line by Elle Knowles



Crossing the Line is a touching book written by Elle Knowles.

Helena is having trouble with Jim, her husband of thirty years. He seems to be always unavailable for her and is spending too much time with his associate. With three grown up children, a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, Jim and Helena have too much to lose, so, Helena tries her best to pretend that everything is alright with their marriage by always justifying Jim’s unacceptable behavior.

However, things get from bad to worse when Helena discovers questionable transactions in their bank account and starts digging for more evidence of Jim’s wrongful actions.

This is a story about a strong woman’s attempt to save her marriage. This is a book about family, love and friendship among others. The author successfully depicts how far a woman would go to protect the most important thing in her life, her family. The plot, though not extraordinarily original, is eye-opening. It is touching and moving and some readers may find it relatable.

The author creates an admirable protagonist in Helena. She is the epitome of a strong, determined and independent woman. Her strength keeps her family for as long as she could while her determination leads her to the truth and sets her free.

The writing is generally spontaneous making the book an easy read. However, I find the pacing a little slow and the narrative too detailed that some parts sound unnatural. Moreover, there are some misspelled words (like then instead of than and Alley instead of Allie) though only very few are still noticeable.

Still, I enjoyed this book and I find Helena a memorable character.

Congratulations to Elle Knowles (@knowleselle) on such a touching book. For more books by the author, click HERE.

December 13, 2017

Hatching the Phoenix Egg by Joel Horn


Hatching the Phoenix Egg is the second book in the Mare Tranquillitatis Series created by Joel Horn.  

The story of the Lost Coast Rocket continues with the indefatigable Ken O’Brien’s launch in a one-way trip to Jupiter aboard Tranquility. With a limited life span of ten years, Ken resigns himself to a lonesome existence away from everything he loves the most including the green-eyed girl he has loved for most of his life.

However, a great and welcome surprise arrives, courtesy of Akira, when Ken least expects it. Now, he has a choice. But the felicity brought by that choice is cut short with the discovery of something bigger than everything Ken has ever known.

Ken is faced with a dilemma that no man has ever faced before. The immensity of the possible consequences weighs heavily on his soul as the future, or lack of it, of his beloved birth planet rests on his shoulders.

This is a suspenseful science fiction novel with some apocalyptic scenarios. Scenes vary from the sinister outer space, scalding desert to the unforgiving wilds. Just like the first in the series, this book features numerous themes including love, friendship, faith, loyalty, determination and perseverance.

For me, the most important part of the book is the emphasis on life and enjoying it to the fullest with the ones we love. The author subtly reminds us of the things we easily take for granted like time, friends and home, that we forget the value of until they are taken from us.

Needless to say I enjoy this book even more than the first. Except for some space and physics jargons which are totally foreign to me, I like everything about the book and though I don’t consider myself a fan of Ken’s I admire his tenacity and determination and I believe that if I were put in the same situations, I would do the same things he did.

Congratulations to Joel Horn on another great and enjoyable book! For more books by the same author, click HERE,                                       

December 3, 2017

The Yoke by Darrell Dunham


The Yoke is a touching and inspiring book written by Darrell Dunham.

Since his mother’s accident, Barnabas Mitchell’s life has become a constant struggle and a series of hardships and difficulties. Just when it seems like it wouldn’t get any worse, his father left and never came back. Barnabas buried himself in his studies and did very well in school. Unlike other kids his age, Barnabas had only a few preoccupations that gave meaning to his life: taking care of his mother, writing on his journal and playing basketball.  When his mother died, Barnabas lost faith in God and in people. He fell into depression. However, out of love and respect for his mother’s memory, he soldiered on.

Bill Cushman is the good looking and charming son of a rich and influential man. He is lazy and arrogant, thinks highly of himself and less of other people. He never works for what he wanted. He cheats his way through it, uses other people to get it or simply asks his father to do something about it. Wherever Barnabas goes, Bill unexpectedly shows up and makes life harder for Barnabas than it already is.

This is a wonderful and beautifully written book about one man’s struggles and unwavering determination to live a respectable and honorable life despite the seemingly endless difficulties. It is an inspiring tale of love, courage, perseverance, integrity and faith. It shows how a man with nothing to show for himself but his work ethics and credibility can make it through and be among the best in what he does. Moreover, it depicts how God works in mysterious ways by sending someone the worst person to bring out the best in him, and using the most unlikely person to bring about the change that the best and finest people could not.

The author creates admirable and endearing characters including Sam Schultz and Kyle and Sarah Williams. In the end, however, I find Stephanie Schultz my favorite. She is patient, smart and kind and she lives by her faith through and through.

The part I like the most in the book is when Barnabas was presented a choice between ending his financial difficulties for good and doing what is right without any indication of getting anything in return. For me, it was the greatest manifestation of honorability.

However, I find some parts of the narration a little bit unnatural for fiction. Moreover, as especially mentioned in the book, a part of the court case was somehow too technical and might cause some readers’ interest to falter.

Despite those issues, I enjoyed the book immensely and I recommend it to those who are looking for inspiration and to those who simply want to feel good.

Congratulations to Darrell Dunham (@DunhamAuthor) on such a marvelous book!            

The Yoke was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on November 28th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.