Book Review: The Fall of Icarus by N.R. Bates

Three interconnected short-stories set in Paris explore the issue of choice, survival and transformation. In the first story, a young man on his first business trip is waylaid by an aberrant elevator. In the pivotal tale, a young scientist re-imagines the Greek myth of Icarus and his fall to earth. In the final story, a young woman who cannot recall her own name relates the fantastical tale of a girl who can fly.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Fall of Icarus is 3 short stories. These stories are so short that I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters, but it was fast reading and I didn’t get bored.

In the first story, The Elevator, I kept waiting for more to happen but it never did. The last sentence almost made up for waiting though.

The second story, The Fall of Icarus, was the shortest and I didn’t care much for it. There just wasn’t a lot to it.

The last story, The Girl, was my favorite of the three. It’s about a girl who tells a couple she meets the story of a girl who can fly. The story she tells kept my interest and there was a surprise at the end.

If you’re looking for a good quick read, I recommend The Fall of Icarus. Even though I didn’t care for one of the stories, it was only 6 pages long.

About the Author

NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.

Website http://www.nrbates.com

Short Story Review: The Woman of the Void by Sunshine Somerville

A tyrant with a vendetta.
A witch with a destiny.
All’s fair in war and magic.

Raised in an isolated Kota village, Vedanleé uses her gifts to draw magic from the ancient lands of her coastal home. The Clan Eldress, the most powerful woman in the village, has a vision about the prophesied Woman of the Void – a woman destined to wield unfathomable power. To her surprise, Vedanleé is named as this woman.

Then Thurston Olander, Lord High Commander of the Dominion global empire, comes to fulfill an old custom. The women of the clan uncover a whole new danger, and Vedanleé must go with Thurston to ensure their safety.

Living in the Dominion’s technologically advanced world, Vedanleé’s power over the void grows as she discovers the science behind her magic. But she lives in fear, for Thurston is not what he seemed.

Will she ever become the Woman of the Void? Escape is her only option, but where will she ever be safe in Thurston’s empire?

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My Review

I chose to read this e-book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The Woman of the Void is a short story about Vedanleé’s childhood and how she is taken from her magical village to give birth to the children of Thurston. Once she fulfills this “duty,” she isn’t of much use to him anymore. What will happen to her and her boys?

Even though this is a short story, the character of Vedanleé is well developed and sympathetic. Being a companion story to the Kota series, The Woman of the Void definitely wants me to check out the series.

About the Author

Sunshine Somerville is a Science Fantasy author who loves blending genres. She has a degree in English Literature and self-published her first book at the ripe old age of nine.  Originally from the beachy side of Michigan, she now lives in the Detroit area with her husband, two fur babies, and one human daughter. 
The Kota Series is a Science Fantasy epic based on youthful obsessions with X-Men, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, Dark Angel, and A Wrinkle in Time.
The Alt-World Chronicles is an Urban Fantasy series inspired by weird recurring dreams, a brainstorming session in the shower, and one ridiculously hot summer lived in Kansas City.
A Fairly Fairy Tale is Sunshine’s first Middle Grade Fantasy book. She got the idea from her family’s crest, which portrays a dragon shooting flames from both ends, and from a niece whose second favorite word is farts.

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Book Review: Why Animals Love Santa by Edit Engel & Alan McBrearty

All you hear about is Santa’s one big night, but in his new book “Why Animals Love Santa,” he shares four cute little bedtime stories that everyone will enjoy before Christmas and throughout the year.

Follow Santa on his daily exercise routine to get in shape for his special night, and meet some of his little animal friends along the way. You will find out how Santa’s lost clothing becomes very helpful to others in need.

You will see how Santa’s exercises turn into little adventures. Santa has a big heart, and he is always there to help his little animal friends in the forest.

Santa shows the importance of having kindness and love for one another and all of God’s little creatures.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

To prepare for Christmas night, Santa takes walks in the woods in the weeks before Christmas. Why Animals Love Santa has four cute stories about Santa’s adventures in the woods and what he does to take care of the animals who live near him. Whether it’s baby birds who are cold and hungry, mice or rabbits who need a home, or a stuck goose, Santa is ready to help.

The illustrations are cute and have vivid colors that will keep the interest of young children. This is a great addition to any child’s Christmas books.

Short Story Review: Dreams of Lake Drukka & Exhumation by Mike Thorn

“Dreams of Lake Drukka” and “Exhumation” explore the unearthing of horrific, long-buried family secrets. Journeying into the darkest recesses of the past, these stories depict the dire consequences of discovering the truth.

Writing about this duology, author Mike Thorn says: “It was only in retrospect that I could see the connections between these two stories. When I revisited them for publication, it struck me that they work well as companion pieces. Both plots depict unfulfilled pacts with supernatural undercurrents, both include journeys to uncover unresolved familial trauma, and both pivot around the revelation of repressed memories. I wanted to explore the relationship between setting and atmosphere in these pieces, and to depict horror within internal and physical ‘sites of trauma.’ The characters are grappling with painful memories / experiences that have held them back, consciously or unconsciously. One story focuses on a character who is the agent of her own revelations, whereas the other story sees someone whose agency is quickly and brutally taken away.”

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Dreams of Lake Drukka and Exhumation are for fans of horror. Both stories deal with family secrets and the consequences of actions in the past.

Dreams of Lake Drukka was my favorite of the two stories. Sharla insists that she and her sister Jeannette go to the lake where their mom drowned several years ago. She knows that something wasn’t right and needs to find out what actually happened. Or should she have just left it alone?

In Exhumation, Abel is attending his cousin’s funeral. He meets another man, Norm, who claims to be a cousin as well; but he has no recollection of Norm, probably because when he met him, it was during the years Abel was on drugs and alcohol. Norm insinuates that Abel was there when something terrible had happened to Alan, and even though Abel has no desire to found out what it was, he may have no choice.

This was a quick read but as a fan of horror, both stories definitely kept my interest.

About the Author

Mike Thorn is the author of Darkest Hours and Dreams of Lake Drukka & Exhumation. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Dark Moon DigestThe NoSleep PodcastTurn to Ash and Tales to Terrify. His film criticism has been published in MUBI NotebookThe Film StageThe Seventh RowBright Lights Film Journal and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Visit his website, follow him on Twitter or contact him by email.

Book Review: The Guest House Witch & The Book Witch by Desy Smith

Some hatred doesn’t fade with the passage of time…

Sage Rosewood’s heart nearly stops when she arrives home to find the front door of her house open. Someone has been inside, someone supernatural with a grudge against her and her family. But this unfortunate day takes an even darker turn when she learns that her mother and aunt have been taken.

Fearing for Sage’s safety, her grandmother sends her to a safehouse in The Woodlands with strict instructions to stay hidden, but The Woodlands are far from safe. The town is teeming with supernatural life — from the handsome werewolf, Kayden, who makes her tingle in a certain place, to mysterious and possibly dangerous witches — and some of the residents still harbor a deep hatred for the Rosewood witches.

Unable to sit idly by while her family is in danger, Sage sets out to search for answers, convinced that the corrupt Guild is responsible for her mother and aunt’s disappearance, but her investigation leads her straight into danger.

Will Sage be able to escape the threat nipping at her heels? Or will she disappear like the rest of her family, bringing an end to the Rosewood line?

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How far will she go to avenge her family…

There are no bodies to bury, no graves with marked tombstones. There are only three books, each one belonging to a member of the Rosewood family. There is only one reason for the books to be gathered all in one place—the witches who once owned them are dead.

Sage Rosewood is now the last of her line, a burden nearly as heavy as her grief.

Kayden, the charismatic werewolf who holds her heart, sort of, tries to console her, but there is only so much his warm arms and gentle words can do when her heart aches for vengeance. She wants nothing more than to find the people who killed her family, to dispatch justice, and to bring the bodies of her loved ones home.

She sets out on a dangerous path to find the one person who may have the answers she needs an imposter pretending to be her grandmother. But it’s a path that there may be no coming back from. Who can she trust? How far will she go to extract the truth and avenge her family? Will she lose herself along the way?

Walk alongside Sage in this tale of magic, mystery, and vengeance. Every chapter will leave you spellbound.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Witch-Rosewood-Two-ebook/dp/B07VQD4GW6/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Desy+smith&qid=1564629369&s=gateway&sr=8-2

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-book-witch-desy-smith/1132724499?ean=2940163655458

https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1474681626

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-book-witch-1

My Review

I chose to read these short stories after receiving free e-copies from The Reading Room. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

When I got these short stories, I thought they were books so I was surprised when they ended so quickly. Since Sage said at the end of the 2nd story that she was just getting started and because not has much happened yet, I’m sure there were will more stories in this series.

In The Guest House Witch, Sage is contacted by her grandmother who tells her to go to a safehouse in The Woodlands which is in another dimension. Once she gets there, she realizes that her Grandma, mom, and aunt have all disappeared. She decides it’s time to find out what is going on.

Sage also meets Kayden, an alpha werewolf, and there’s an instant attraction. Because of this, he plans on keeping her safe.

The Book Witch is a continuation of The Guest House Witch. Sage continues to investigate and learns what has happened to her family. She also encounters danger along the way but she’s a strong witch. The attraction between Sage and Kayden grows and Kayden’s pack makes it clear that she should be his.

The story of Sage could be a good one; however, both books are in serious need of editing. There are so many errors that it is distracting and although I usually like reading series, I don’t plan on reading any more of these books unless they’re edited.

About the Author

Desy Smith, MFA, is a paranormal romance author and English teacher who is on a mission to expand her readers’ minds and create unique worlds that they can escape to through the power of storytelling. Her poignant writing style features sassy heroines, urban drama, angels, wolves, demons, witches, and sensual scenes.

Born, raised and based in Dallas, Desy spent most of her childhood picking apart movies and books. Her mother and her affinity for all things supernatural also really drove Desy to dabble in life’s unknowns and use her imagination. Ultimately, this led her to writing stories of her own at just 10 years of age. After her release of “The Talented (The Messenger Series)” this February, she will be working on book number three, and plans on writing until her last breath.

Currently, Desy is the Founder of Floebe Publishing, where she publishes her own and other writers’ short stories (of 20,000 words max) with the busy reader in mind. She also provides complimentary creative writing advice to her fellow word weavers.

When she doesn’t have a pen or book in hand, Desy Smith is a movie buff and foodie with an unquenchable sweet tooth (having a gluten allergy makes things a bit tricky). She also isn’t much of a whistler and has a round face (people like pinching her cheeks any chance they get). With her “carpe diem” mindset towards life, she looks forward to exposing her readers to realms unseen.

Author Social Media Links: 

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

Twitter: @FloebePublishi1

Book Review: Denizens of Distant Realms by Dawn Vogel

In Denizens of Distant Realms, fantastical things intertwine in half a dozen fantasy short stories. Dragons and witches fend off suitors by unconventional means, old pacts with demons are fixed with true love, dark magic threatens lives and livelihoods, and magical shoes and mermaids both offer young women new opportunities.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Denizens of Distant Realms is six fantasy short stories. They’re not connected in any way, but each short story kept my interest. From magic shoes to dragons to mermaids, most of these short stories have good endings that are sometimes a bit unexpected.

My favorite short story was “A Dark Place” in which a young man who is homeless and penniless agrees to go to a mansion to work but is warned that no one ever returns. Will he be the first?

I definitely recommend Denizens of Distant Realms for anyone who likes fantasy. It’s especially good if you just have a few minutes to read.

Book Review: Smash and Grab by Joe Albanese

Wick was a normal young man, passing his days at a part-time job and wasting his nights with friends and booze. That was until someone smashed a brick to the side of his head and knocked Wick’s life upside down. The culprit, Kenny, a young man in a dire situation, has only one goal: to get the job done, no matter who gets in his way.
On opposite sides, Wick and Kenny, along with their shared circle of friends, low-lifes, drug dealers, an ex-flame, a cop battling his own demons, and each other, will find out just how similar their situations are, and if only one of them can make it out alive.
 

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Smash and Grab is a short story about Wick, a young man who used to sell drugs and has gotten himself into some trouble with a dealer but he’s trying to take care of his problems and clean up his act. His good friend, Dustin, is only interested in going to parties and making sure that he has enough drugs for everyone to have a good time. Wick’s acquaintance, Kenny, is in the same dire circumstances with the drug dealer so they are trying to work together to scrape up the money to pay him back. 

Their plans don’t work out as they expected and things quickly come to a head. Even though this story is short, it has some suspense and I found myself connecting with Wick and wanting things to work out for him. If you want a satisfying quick read, Smash and Grab is a good choice.

 

 

About the Author

Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry can be found in publications across the U.S. and in ten other countries. Joe is the author of Smash and GrabCainaCandy Apple Red, For the Blood is the Life, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man.

Twitter: @JoeAlba88