I AM SLEEPLESS: The Huntress

By Johan Twiss

By Johan Twiss

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

To be quite honest, I don’t remember much about the first book in this series. It feels like it’s been years since I reviewed the prequel to this piece but I was happy to hear from a returning author and leapt at the opportunity to provide another review for him.

Considering I didn’t remember anything from the first book, the list of abilities and brief guide detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the primes was somewhat helpful but I do think readers who are new to the series would benefit from reading both books. The story is set to a great pace and allows you to digest every event which occurs and get to know each character we meet along the way.

I liked the cast and was surprised how much Sheva grew on me. She is a dark addition to the story but her background and the more you get to know her makes her more than just a “Huntress”. I was intrigued by her presence and found her to be more interesting than Twiss may have intended. I think the cast behaved well together, especially considering all the pitfalls they went through. The characters were young so I was half expecting to be annoyed by their attitudes and demeanor but I found them to be responsible and mature.

Each character is tested in this book and are demanded to put forth their fullest effort to survive and complete the task at hand. I liked that Twiss pushed them to their limits through obstacle after obstacle. With the lurking dangers, character relationships, and overall edgy tone of the story, I found The Huntress to be very enjoyable and would definitely recommend it to other readers. The only complaint I have would be in the style of writing. While the book was edited well and definitely came together as a decent and coherent story, I found Twiss sometimes used unnecessary words in his writing such as: “Stood to his feet” (where else could you stand to?) or “Held in her hands” (if you’re holding something, its naturally in your hands…)

While those phrases may not be grammatically incorrect, they are considered signs of what may be described by some as “weak writing”. While I disagree, and believe Twiss’s writing was very good and entertaining, I think getting rid of such habits in his style will push his next book to a new level.

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Underland: The Story of Bookland, Book III

Josh Brannan

Josh Brannan

One of the things I loved most about this series was the style of narration. By now, anyone who has read a review by me should know this is a very whimsical and quirky series. It has a distinct feel of a story dancing the lines of fairytale and fantasy. I can truly describe this as a silly, one-of-a-kind series but it most certainly has a serious edge. From dragons, to romance, to action, and more—this series has plenty to offer in entertainment for every reader.

This book in particular felt like a good ending despite its claim not to be. I liked the silly titles to the different sections in the story like: Not the Middle, and Not the End, when—of course—it certainly was. This series has been a wonderful ride and I do hope to see more follow its unique and hilarious style in the future. It feels so close to a fairytale it almost reads like a classic, which is a good thing! I’m excited for this series and I hope other readers enjoy it as much as I have.

Now that I’m done praising this series, I will share one of the issues I had with the writing. The narration was my favorite part of the three books but it also came as a double-edged sword. Sometimes the language of the narrator didn’t work out so well. While trying to sound quirky, there were times it sounded more like reading a typo. One sentence I distinctly remember reading over twice was:

“Faug rushed forward, and both Fierce and Damsel rushed just as rushingly to meet him.”

Maybe I’m wrong but I’m sure “rushingly” isn’t a word. That was probably done on purpose considering the style of the story, but it wasn’t done *right* in my opinion. Maybe making up words was taking it a bit far.

Despite that last complaint, the narration definitely provided a silly undertone to the story, but it severely lacked an essential part of any story: emotion. I did not feel very attached to the characters. I felt I knew them well, but only from a distance. Beyond that, what really bothered me were scenes or events that were supposed to be emotional. In this book, there was a reunion of three characters which I expected to be charged with emotion but it was fed to me in a very blunt, almost dry, way.

For example, while the characters were embracing the narrator described the scene as them “sharing a long moment of kisses”. That’s not exactly what I would expect when a family is reunited but more frustrating is that it made it awkward to picture what was happening. In the first book the narrator said he left out details so that we could use our own imagination to fill in the blank but, in some cases, telling us what’s happening but leaving out all description or detail is not encouraging us to be imaginative at all. To me, it isn’t even like telling a story but more like reading a checklist of events that occurred.

They were separated.

They reunited.

They shared hugs and kisses.

And now, dear reader, the story shall end.

So, the narration was a hilarious voice that worked sometimes but not all the time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, just that I noticed some setbacks—as with every book on the market. Nonetheless, I do hope this series reaches great success and I would recommend it to readers of all ages with an interest in fantasy, comedy, or fairytales. Anyone looking for something unique will definitely find it here.     

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Full Moon Rising: Trilogy of the Wolf Book I

By JB Jenn

By JB Jenn

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

I will be honest—like I’m supposed to be—I have mixed feelings about this book. The thing is, when you write about common mythological creatures, such as werewolves or vampires, you have to bring something new to the table and I feel like that didn’t happen here. This was a very typical werewolf story, even down to the title: Full Moon Rising. We all know wolves change on the full moon, we all know wolves have a dedicated pack mentality, we all know wolves tend to be protective of the ones close to them—all typical behavior, all featured in this book.

Now, just because the book was typical doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining. The prophecy cast an ominous shadow over much of the story and gave it that dark, supernatural aura that got me turning pages. The style of the author’s writing was almost old fashioned and gave the book a somewhat classic feel, especially in the descriptions which were beautiful and very detailed. I felt like I’d been taken into that world; I could perfectly imagine every character, setting, and action scene.

I also liked the entire cast and their interactions. I was happy the dialogue always fit their personalities. Each individual had a strength of their own which became prevalent as the story progressed. While I did find the pacing to be somewhat slow—probably due to the wordy yet beautiful details in the story—I felt it matched the overall style of writing and fit the story very well.

For the actual plot itself: it was cool having a werewolf book told from the perspective of a Priest on the run. You usually get some teen romance novel with these sorts of genres. Maybe the Priest’s perspective was the “new” thing I felt the story lacked but in the end, it still didn’t add up to more than an OK book. Grammatically, everything was fine. Developmentally, everything was fine. Contextually, everything was fine. Creatively, it fell a little flat for me. BUT I think it has enough of that classic werewolf style to appeal to a number of old school supernatural nerds and fantasy readers.

I would recommend this book to any werewolf fan and those who like classic supernatural/fantasy novels. If you’ve got a taste for a little horror/violence then you might enjoy this too.

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Sons of God: Hosts and Hellions Book II

By Mia Michele

By Mia Michele

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

 

This is the second book in a dark fantasy/supernatural series. I had the luxury of reading the first book in this series free of charge and enjoyed it very much so I was definitely looking forward to reading the second book and I am happy to say I enjoyed this book just as much as the last.

Michele picks things right up in this book and opens with a strong and thrilling scene that immediately draws you in. I really enjoyed the style in this story and I think it was best described by Michele herself on the first page. She says that Ela’s breath comes out in “staccato bursts” which best matches the pacing and writing in the book. The descriptive aspects are short and to the point, giving us just enough to imagine what’s going on. The interactions between the characters are quick but detailed, and the action happens swiftly and is written with powerful punches.

The biggest difference between this book and the last was the characterization. In the first book, everything was introduced to us. Michele focused on telling us the story, building her world and background, describing characters, feeding us interactions, and making sure we followed their personalities. But with all that out of the way, she was able to show us the people she saw and give us the story she lived in every time she opened Microsoft Word. I feel like this book is the meat of the story and has the heaviest load in terms of development. I definitely felt the same emotions as the characters: their pain, their joy, their confusion, and especially their hurt. As entertaining as this book was, I will say the emotional aspect really tugs at your heart.

I always enjoy second books better than the first book in the series so I’m looking forward to the third book and definitely expect more from this author. Of course, I recommend this book to fantasy readers and anyone interested in angels and demons but if you like strong female leads then you might want to pick this up.

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The Everlast: Book One

By Jack Kavanagh

By Jack Kavanagh

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

The plot for this book is pretty decent. It’s a fantasy/supernatural novel involving angels, darkness, attacks on humanity, and more. It is a classic good versus evil type of book with the main character faced with a difficult decision which would ultimately determine the flow of the story. It has the potential to be very good but it’s held back by a list of jarring and sometimes confusing errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes.

The book is written in first person present tense but it often jumps back and forth between present and past tense. It also sometimes switches to third person … but the biggest mistakes are with the dialogue. Some lines are written outside of quotations, in the middle of the conversation, and much of the speech is awkward and out of place. A lot of exchanges are also filled with run-on sentences poorly connected by dashes or misused semi-colons.

Normally, I’m not one to make a big deal out of errors—especially when I know it’s the author’s first book which, in this case, it was. Unfortunately, I found the mistakes in this book so numerous and distracting that I couldn’t even finish the story.

Despite everything I just said, there are some positive notes to this book. The cover, first of all, is amazingly beautiful. It draws you in and definitely portrays the dark yet wonderful world Kavanagh has imagined. I did not finish the story but I did think it was somewhat interesting and with a little editing it could be so much more.

After a bit of revising, I would recommend this story to fantasy readers and supernatural fans. Anyone who likes angels and demons is going to want to give it a try.

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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*

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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.

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Open to residents of the United States, excluding Rhode Island, where the promotion is void.
  • Must be 18 or over to win.
  • Only one prize per person and per household will be awarded
  • 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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