Children of Hellions: Hosts and Hellions, Book I

By Mia Michele

By Mia Michele

This is a story that combines heaven, hell, and everything in between. There is action, supernatural conflict, and the slightest bit of romance. The characters are enjoyable and the plot is fairly interesting! I had a great time reading this book and I will say I’m looking forward to moving on to the next one.

Ela is the owner of a bookstore who has been raising her brother since their mother and father abandoned them years ago. By all accounts, she is a strong character but not in physical strength. What I liked most about Ela was her frame of mind which was very strong from her introduction in to the story. I am someone who loves raising awareness for disabilities—autism is something that I’ve actually written about before—so I was absolutely thrilled to have such a character in a book like this.

Lucian is someone who grew on me. He had a lot of personal conflict that he battled throughout the story and showed strong development as I continued reading. In the beginning, he was definitely aloof and even seemed uninterested in the affairs of the other demons around him. He was immune to the affection given to him and only came alive when his own interests were somehow disrupted. By the end, we saw someone who had developed a conscience and showed genuine concern for the other characters involved. There is still much room for Lucian to grow—and room for his relationship with Ela as well—but I see him as a strong character who easily carried the novel from page one until the end.

I liked the plot of this story. The author did well in tying the realms together and giving a believable reason for their connection. The story wasn’t a “well disguised romance” as many paranormal books tend to be, it was a legitimate story with struggles and obstacles each character had to overcome. The thought of a demonic war going on in Canada was somewhat amusing but it plays out very well when you take the time to get into the story. My only complaint would be the ending which I cannot get into because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. But the book was a good start to what seems like a promising series and I highly recommend it to any fans of dark fantasy and supernatural/paranormal fiction.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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Literalia: The Story of Bookland, Book II

Once again, we are given a wonderful and humorous ride in one of Brannan’s creative and original novels. Literalia is the second book in the Bookland series and it certainly reads just as well as the first.

In my review of the first Bookland story, I made a few comments on the humor and the style of narration. I have to bring that up again here because this book follows the same quirky pattern and I mean that as a huge compliment. My favorite thing about this series is its originality and the narration plays a huge part in that aspect of the story. I love the names of the characters—simple things like Farmboy, White, and Priest—and I love the way the narrator interjects himself into the story rather randomly and unexpectedly. He has a personality of his own that fits the persona of a narrator but also sets him apart as his own character with his own story—of which we don’t exactly know.

The story in this book does take on a bit more of a serious note as we venture into the underworld and face obstacles and enemies our cast isn’t quite sure they can handle. I liked the new story and enjoyed revisiting characters from the last book. The series feels like it is winding down while still mounting to something which may lead to future books. I think Brannan has written this installation quite well and can certainly continue this series for as long as he would like. I, for one, am a huge fan of all things Bookland related and would not mind seeing more silly stories such as this on the market.

Another thing I really liked about this book was its impressive number of female characters—all of whom were more than capable of handling themselves. There was Green, the archer, Assassin, whose name says enough, and White who happened to be my favorite character—even Princess was an interesting character. As a female, I definitely appreciated the diverse cast and especially appreciated that none of them fell into the cookie cutter character that you might have expected them to be.

Even though this book took a slightly more serious note, and had a larger cast, I don’t think it strayed far from the original voice and tone which caught my attention in the first book. Brannan stayed true to his roots in giving us a rich environment with a bright cast to match, but he introduced us to new heights with his creativity and his ability to stretch the lines in fantasy and fiction.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique adventure, humor, and even a small bit of romance. If you like fantasy and a full cast of one-of-a-kind characters, then I would highly suggest grabbing a copy of this.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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What We Had

A heartwarming and family-friendly book that kept me reading from beginning to end. This is a tale that feels familiar yet new and exciting at the same time and that is due wholly to the author’s wonderful hand and style. Wilson weaves a most interesting tale of a gusty and comedic young girl who is lost in love and caught up in her entertaining thrills and pitfalls of life.

Birdie is the protagonist every novelist aims to create: she is funny, charismatic, and real. I love Birdie because her personality is so very realistic and open it feels welcoming and pulls you into the story right away. She is a funny young girl who lives in the sweltering heat of the beautiful country with her Momma, Pa, and silly siblings. She has an honest way of putting things just the way they are and describing those around her in the way she sees them. Ned is gorgeous. Her sister is a whiny baby. Her Momma is strong. In some ways, you might say that Birdie lives a ‘normal’ life but through her eyes, it is anything but.

What I liked most about the story was the tone. Birdie is the best narrator you could ask for. Wilson does a great job at capturing her young love as we go on this ride with her and she leads us into more serious events with ease as Birdie matures and grows physically and emotionally. I liked the laid back southern attitude carried throughout the book—as someone born in Georgia, it was nice to go back to ham biscuits and long walks to church, fans swinging during service, and picnics afterwards. I had a lovely time with this book and I look forward to reading more from this author.

My only complaint was the pacing. I loved the budding romance between Birdie and Ned and had expected to experience all the joys and butterfly thrills of their sweet love but I did not. The best part of romance is how it all comes to be and it seemed that on page one Ned didn’t know Birdie existed but by the end of page three he was having lunch with her and giving her googly eyes. This is just a subjective complaint, as I enjoy beginnings more than endings but that is not to say the story itself was not an overall enjoyment for me.

I would recommend this book to readers of all ages especially those who enjoy witty romance and strong female leads.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

REVEAL Sweepstakes

Hello readers!

This post is not a book review but a PSA (public service announcement)

I was contacted by a fellow author and business owner by the name of Renee Townsend who had an interesting inquiry.

Renee is the owner of a company called Backbone America, a business where she provides coaching and consulting services to small business owners. As exciting as that is, Renee has recently expanded her wonderful services to include coaching for writers! The best part is that she has a focus helping writers self-publish!

As you all know, I am a self-published author and the goal of The Rebel Christian is to help indie authors and new authors get started with their work. So, when I read the email about helping spread the word for Ms. Townsend’s business, I couldn’t wait to lend a hand.

You can visit her website by clicking here but, more importantly, you can click here to enter her sweepstakes for a chance to win free sessions of the amazing coaching classes she offers!

Let me explain the sweepstakes to you…

Using Rafflecopter, THREE winners will receive Renee’s REVEAL coaching package (a $399 value) free of charge. The package includes TWO full sessions with Renee who will help and guide you through the steps of branding your company, better defining your goals, finding clarity for the future of your business, and realizing your full potential as an entrepreneur.

When I first self-published, my head was spinning! There were so many different questions…

Who do I want to publish with?

How do I advertise?

How do I get reviews?

Do I need my own platform?

Should I have a blog? And Twitter? And Facebook?

How do I get subscribers if I start a blog?

How do I stay focused on writing a new book, writing for my blog, and still attracting readers to my first book?

And of course, the question we all wonder… is it worth it?

As writers, our business is far more personal than others. We spend years honing our craft before it is ever revealed and our customers don’t get a refund because what we offer is our talent—something that is ultimately priceless. I can’t imagine the depth of aid and focus Renee’s classes will offer new and struggling authors.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, then please click here to enter her sweepstakes now, as it only runs from March 1, 2017 until March 31, 2017.

Be sure you meet all the guidelines listed below.

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  • Potential Winner must accept a prize by email within 48 hours of notification

I hope you all find interest in Ms. Townsend’s giveaway, it certainly is a helpful tool for new authors. If you have any questions or comments, drop them in the comments section below. Don’t forget to take a look around the website and see what’s new before you go!

God Bless

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

Immortal Shadow

By Anderson Atlas

By Anderson Atlas

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I have read work by Anderson Atlas before so I am used to his style of writing and knew what to expect when I cracked open my copy of this book. I must say, this is probably the darkest of all the books I have read by this author. That is not at all a complaint! Just something I noticed.

For starters, the main character is a former slave who rises to power. As I read his story I realized this book was all about growth and change. Seeing his personality shift and mold throughout the story was somewhat chilling as the main character was a bit ruthless and merciless at times.

I liked that Jibbawk was not entirely human. He was something of a half bird-half human species which made for many wonderful detail and descriptive opportunities that Atlas definitely took advantage of. Jibbawk had a detached personality and I think it worked well for the events he faced and the way he handled himself in certain situations. He alone was his own worst enemy so watching him struggle and climb throughout the book was intriguing.

Adam is a very fitting character for this story as he is so unsuspecting and carries an air of innocence in his demeanor. His betrayal is definitely obvious to readers but Atlas does a swell job at hiding Adam’s motives from Jibbawk as the story carried on. Their relationship was somewhat surprising but I think it worked and it stood as the backbone to the story. I kept turning pages wondering what would happen between them, how things would fall apart, and how Jibbawk would react when/if he ever found out about Adam helping the rebels.

While I did enjoy this book very much, I do have one complaint and that is that the book had an awkward pace. I felt some parts were very well put together and fleshed out in a detailed manner while some parts seemed rushed and stuffed into the book just to make the story make sense. The book was not terribly long at all but it could have benefitted from maybe thirty-fifty more pages—just enough to give the story more time to breathe and develop smoothly. It was fantasy after all, so I was quite surprised by its length.

That being said, I did enjoy the book and would recommend it others especially if you have ever read any work by this author in the past. Fantasy and science fiction nerds will enjoy it very much and those with an interest in adventure or dystopian books will want to grab a copy.

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Bookland (The Story of Bookland, Book I)

By Josh Brannan

By Josh Brannan

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a completely honest review*

 

I do not know where exactly to begin with this review. There is so much, yet so little, to say about this story and to top it off I’m not quite sure what words would fit the best.

Let me say that this is a very quirky and unique book. One of the best—and silliest—aspects of the story is probably the role of the narrator. The narrator is an active character in the story with a rather unique and enjoyable voice. I liked that part the best because it was a real risk taker, in my opinion, but it worked out very well and turned out to be very humorous.

When I read the description for the book and saw that it claimed to be humorous all on its own I was like… well you’d better impress me! And it definitely did.

There are many times the narrator makes fun of the silly clichés that both writers and readers fall into. In the beginning the main character is described as a boy—later named Farmboy—for the simple fact that it ‘makes sense’ for him to be a boy because of the content of the story and that he should be a boy specifically from a farm but if that offends fans they can take the time to place an invisible ‘S’ in front of ‘he’ and imagine him as a girl.

I had a ball reading that, just because of all the ‘equality’ and women’s rights going on in the news lately, I interpreted it as a goofy crack at the political drama. Just as I was reading that passage, I imagined some quack shouting ‘Why does it have to be a boy? Why can’t it be a girl?’ then the narrator said we could make it a girl if we wanted, no big deal—and I laughed for probably three minutes straight.

This book was full of that sort of silliness which I partially expected with a title like Bookland, in a place like Goodland, telling the story of a kid named Farmboy.

Brannan definitely gets points for creativity and originality but I can’t ignore the high quality of skill he demonstrated beneath the humor and goofiness. There was an air of sophistication throughout the book and even though it was silly, the writing itself was quite serious. The editing was wonderfully clean and the structure of the story was well planned. The characters were given very plain names, the world was not explicitly described, the setting was sometimes vague, but it was all deliberate and planned.

The narrator even admitted to as much, explaining that our imagination would be a key role while reading this piece and it certainly was. Reading through this book was like reading the adult version of a book written as cleverly as the great Dr. Seuss.

I will be honest and say I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read it and I’m proud to recommend it to others. Despite its quirkiness, Bookland dives into serious topics such as family, relationships, and even war. There is much to enjoy within its pages and there is no shortage of originality and quick witted humor. If you like fantasy, comedy, and books that read like an old fairy tale, this is certainly for you. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages and interests.

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

Poetry and Ponderings

I have read work by Diamante before and I have spoken of her way with words. She is a wonderful writer with a gifted imagination and that fact could not have been demonstrated more thoroughly in this emotional and powerful piece.

I will be the first to say that I do not enjoy poetry, in fact I’m sure I have that listed in the section of Things I Don’t Like to Read on my query page. If it is not, then I will add it later. That being said, I did enjoy Diamante’s work very much and I found some of her passages to be moving and full of all the emotion I know she faced on a personal level. It was like reading the words written on her heart. It all felt very personal yet public at the same time.

While I can’t explain why I have no interest in poetry, I can explain why I made such an exception for Diamante’s work. This book is a perfect reflection of her as a Christian and a writer full of thoughts—wonderful thoughts—that she wanted to share with the world. It is a mixture of both truth and imagination and I was surprised to see that I could understand and relate to many of the passages.

My favorite poem was one in the beginning called Spirit’s Journey. I can’t tell you any quotes from the poem because it is only one little phrase—but it reads more like a beautiful, epic quote than a short poem and it struck me as meaningful and felt like something I’d had in the back of my mind suddenly rediscovered through this piece.

I do apologize for my rather short review but in terms of words, there simply aren’t many I can share that will explain what I felt while reading this collection. It is heartfelt and meaningful and will speak volumes to you if you open yourself to her work.

If you enjoy poetry and spirituality, then you will like this collection of poetry. I recommend it to Christians and non-believers alike as it is wonderful work that will most definitely move you.

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B and B

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*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a completely honest review*

I am a Christian, many who follow my blog—The Rebel Christian—or have come across my reviews are likely aware of my commitment to my faith. That being said, I have read MANY, I repeat, MANY Christian books. That includes fantasy, science fiction, action, war, and the dreaded … romance. Christian romance, the bane of my existence—and I will tell you why.

There are many kinds of romance; raunchy, sweaty romance that gets your heart racing. There’s gentle romance built on passion and emotion. Gripping, painful romance like a Greek tragedy. YA romance—funny and heartwarming, like reliving your days with your high school crush. Romantic comedies which needs no explanation, and awkward, coming of age romance for the young—or young at heart.

And then there’s Christian romance.

There was a time I would describe Christian romance as dry but I have been proven wrong by a few notable authors on my blog. Now, I’ve come to a new conclusion: its repetitive.

Let me break it down …

Jack is single and Christian but content with his life.

Jill is single and Christian but content with her life.

Jack meets Jill, asks her out. Jill resists him—because she’s trying to focus on life and Christ.

Jack asks again. Jill suddenly realizes life is dry and wouldn’t be bad with Jack around.

Checks with Jesus—He says it’s all good.

Jack and Jill get married.

End.

I’m sure I just described 80% of every Christian romance ever written—or at least 80% of every Christian romance I’VE ever read.

Unfortunately, B and B is not much different.

Ben is this hunky horse guy who is very much content with life, yeah, he’s single but he’s content and just wants to keep to himself and focus on work. He is partnered with someone who’s quite his opposite, a pal named Jake who is very outgoing. The two pair off well as Jake is talkative and doesn’t mind socializing with customers while Ben is quieter but definitely caring and knowledgeable when it comes to horses and whatnot. It’s no surprise that either man catches the eye of Brooke, a new cook hired at Happy Trails.

Brooke is a single mother who just wants to keep her head down and stay focused on her daughter and her life but she can’t hide from Jake for long as he takes notice to the new beauty hanging around. While Jake might be a jokester and sometimes seems like too much to handle, Brooke doesn’t keep her guard up forever. Thus, the romance unfolds.

Don’t get me wrong—because of my lengthy rant—B and B was not by any means a horrible book. It was just a book that fell into the same cookie cutter structure as nearly every other Christian romance—but hey! These books sell in Christian fiction, so why complain? Right?

B and B wasn’t bad, in fact I would recommend it to other readers. It had some points of originality in the fact that it was a ‘horse’ novel set in Australia. There was also the character, Jake, thrown into the mix, who came off as the initial love interest of Brooke. But this heartwarming battle was won by Ben. Gentle Ben, casual Ben, Ben just like most other Christian romance protagonists.

I guess what bothered me the most about B and B was that it was so predictable and that may not be any fault of the author’s—just that I’ve read so much Christian romance, it begins to feel repetitive. Both characters, Brooke and Ben, were like exact replicas of every other main characters in Christian romance. Brooke was innocent and kind, a somewhat shy yet strong female who has decided to stay away from men and romance for whatever reason. Ben was a quiet man, a good man, just looking for a simple life.

There wasn’t much excitement, no surprises, no twists or turns, and barely any passion. While I’m not looking for smoking hot love scenes, I would like more emotion, more detail, more affection. Let me say there is absolutely nothing wrong with squeaky clean romance, but my complaint is not that Christian romance is squeaky clean, it’s that it is very repetitive and often—but not always! —lacks emotion and/or passion. You can be squeaky clean and passionate at the same time … it’s called building on emotion and character connection.

One of the reasons B and B may have lacked in the passion area is probably the writing itself. I would not describe it as bad, it was just very, very simple. It broke the rules of show don’t tell. Instead of showing me that Ben is reserved, and doesn’t enjoy being social, I learned that about him before page 5 because the narrator just plainly said it; “He [Ben] liked them [people] to leave him alone.” And so on…

Oh, ok, good to know…

Many of the sentences began with ‘He’ or ‘She’ in reference to the main characters and read more like a to-do list than a narration. He did this, he did that, she noticed this, she laughed at that. Very simple writing with very little detail. It was plain and laid bare.

Overall, I didn’t think this book was bad. I thought it was just another Christian romance. I did point out the parts I found that weren’t very great—the lack of detail, and style of writing—but altogether, I think this is something that anyone who frequently reads Christian fiction will enjoy.

I also think it’s important to say that this is a solid story that is gentle, and clean, and definitely appeals to Christian audiences. It has a sense of warmth and is a kind piece, especially being a horse fiction. I believe Meunier is a writer who will prosper in Christian fiction and I am very happy to have read her work.  

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

Sixty-Seven Salamanders

By Jeff Joseph

By Jeff Joseph

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a completely honest review*

 

With all the queries I get and books I read, I cannot remember 100% if the author of this piece told me it was his first book or not but I will say that it certainly read like so. I did enjoy this book in some aspects and in some ways, I did not.

First, let me say that the book has great potential. It has a very decent storyline and is filled with action sequences, a colorful cast of characters, and a protagonist that gets you to root for him as he faces trials and events.

I did enjoy following Adin through this story for very simple reasons. Adin is a country boy who gets sucked into a world of technology, violence, and war. He discovers he has superhuman powers and gets introduced to a side of the world that he didn’t know existed; there are spies, villains, and altercations Adin would never predict he’d find himself in, in a million years but I think he handles himself very well and is quick to make connections and bonds with the characters he meets along the way.

One of the downsides to this story is probably the pacing. I felt the beginning was painfully slow and was very tempted to skip a page or two but I grunted my way through and got to the bulk of things which, surprisingly, wasn’t until the end of the book. While some books may have a late climax, I felt this one was probably a little too late.

My complaint in the pacing leads to the next point I want to make; Joseph spent entirely too much time describing things that didn’t matter all that much. The beginning was the worst of it but throughout the story there were tidbits where we would get inside Adin’s head—in the middle of a scene—and stay there for extended periods of time. Just chilling, hearing Adin’s thoughts on the matter, hearing Adin’s opinions, Adin’s worries, Adin’s predictions, but none of that really had a direct impact on the story. It isn’t that we shouldn’t be in Adin’s head—the story is told from first-person after all—it’s that we don’t always need Adin’s two-cents on everything that’s happening.  

Lastly, Adin was cool, he was even charming in that football dude kind of way, but he was by no means this hunk of irresistible man. For some odd reason, every female in the story was attracted to Adin and their affection didn’t always impact the story which made it seem somewhat forced. There were some definitive moments of development and connection between Adin and his many admirers but that time could have spent getting to the point.

Like I said, this book is not bad at all. I quite enjoyed it but with some grammatical editing and a bit of work on the structure, this book could have been much better. That being said, I may be biased because I’m not sure I’m actually a fan of super-human powers after reading this. As a YA fiction, this is good, but as a futuristic story of war and fantasy, maybe not so much.

Overall, I would not overlook this piece as it still has a strong standing in YA fiction, if you ask me. I think young readers will definitely enjoy it and will like the protagonist quite a bit. The action scenes are entertaining and easy to follow and the story itself will hold you until the end.  

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages

Tempus Investigations: A Fictional TV-Show

By Claus Holm

By Claus Holm

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I will say I wasn’t sure about this book when I first read the description. I do enjoy supernatural books but I was afraid this was a little too far left for my taste. I was not so disappointed.

Tempus Investigations is incredibly unique; the book takes place in San Francisco and centers on an investigator who has an unfortunate case of immortality. Spanning 4 ‘episodes’ of a television show, Tempus Investigations follows an agency owned by a man who actually died in the 1930’s. His partner, Mercedes, keeps him tied to this world but she has no powers in the story and that was somewhat of a relief as the main characters frequently crossed paths with other souls from the supernatural realm.

The narration and style of writing is something I enjoyed. It’s a simple style that anyone can cling to and it’s full of slick sarcasm and witty banter between characters. Jim and Mercedes are a loveable pair who easily light up the pages as you read. Their personalities are distinct and their relation to one another is displayed wonderfully through the writing. The detail in the book wasn’t extravagant but I enjoyed it because it worked more like an outline—or a frame. Holm pieced together what was needed and I filled in the rest. In an awkwardly adventurous novel like this, I appreciated the loose narration.

The reason I describe this as ‘awkwardly adventurous’ is because the world Holm has created isn’t explored to its fullest. We had a very big taste of this supernatural universe with time rifts, magic, and other folk from the community but I feel there is an awful lot to look forward to in season 2 of Tempus Investigations and that’s not a complaint.

The fact that the book follows a television show is pretty interesting. I liked the originality that aspect offered as I haven’t read many other books that were written as if they were a television series before—I think maybe one other book to be exact. Although it was interesting, part of me is still deciding if I would like to go back for more. I may simply be too used to the traditional style of writing, but the episodic nature of the story worked out well and definitely highlighted Holm’s creativity.

If you enjoy supernatural fiction, then you will like this unique read. Any young adult to adult reader will appreciate this novel but it will be enjoyed most by those who like supernatural with a bit of mystery.

The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages