May 24, 2018

Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith

Hell Holes: WhatLurks 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.