Check out Benjamin Epstein’s hilarious answers to my Author Interview – 10 Things You’re Too Scared to Ask.
Captive of the Orcs by Benjamin Epstein
Publisher: Center One Publishing
Published: November 13th, 2012
Dallet departed on a long journey, leaving behind his family, home, and his love. He planned to travel to the City of Brass Gates, and enter the priesthood of the Divine, the deity of the Luminean Exiles.
Torak was a young Orc, raised to pursue honor and victory. His tribe captured a trading caravan, and Torak enslaves a fleeing Luminean Exile.
Human and Orc, slave and master, bound by fate, must now adventure across the face of Codytha. One seeks revenge, the other freedom. And each is an enigma to his companion.
The dual plots in CAPTIVE OF THE ORCS are expertly intertwined. Dallet is captured by an orc on the way to begin his training as a Luminean Exile. Torak tracks down a human for capture only to discover that his entire raiding party has been slain/captured besides him. Each character has a very solid plot and what one character does in their own plot influences the plot of the other one.
The characters are complete opposites in beliefs and values, yet share a deep respect for one another. It’s amusing to see the difference of culture between human and orc. There honestly needs to be more orc books, as they’re one of my favorite fantasy creatures. I like the politics of the orcs and how tiny details make a ripple later on in the story.
By the very end of the story, I was nervous that it would end in a cliffhanger and nothing would be resolved until a surprise sequel comes out. But that’s not the case. I can’t say that I was surprised by the ending, however I do like how the resolution happened. Both Dallet and Torak reach a satisfying ending by the last few pages. I’m in awe at the amount of growth both characters exhibited throughout the course of the novel.
There are some minor proofreading errors (quotations) near the end, but nothing that that inhibits your ability to enjoy the story. At first, I didn’t like the dialogue and the voices seemed too generic, but as the book progressed and I really started connecting with the characters, either the dialogue got better or I was too sucked into the story to notice otherwise.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion)
Be sure to check out my other reviews of Dina Rae’s books: Be Prepared Be Paranoid (short story), Bad Juju (horror novel), and Halo of the Damned (#1 for this series). My review is spoiler free, however the book description is not.
Halo of the Nephilim (#2) by Dina Rae
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Horror
Published: May 1st, 2013
Can a fallen angel, his band of broken souls, and his nephilim children change the world?
Armaros the Cursed, Satan’s favorite of the Fallen, falls once again after breaking the rules. Fearing an eternity of punishment, he desperately attempts to save himself by sending a bird to his island. The SOS message is received by his beloved congregation. They prepare the great Armaros’ kingdom for his return. Can his loyal worshipers rescue him from the pit?
Halo of the Nephilim is the sequel to Halo of the Damned. The story begins with Armaros’ arrest. Reporters are duped into believing he was gunned down while awaiting trial. Declared dead, his only known surviving daughter, Joanna Easterhouse, proves her relation and inherits everything. She catapults her career from an entry-level advertising assistant to the head of Armaros’ advertising empire. Life couldn’t be better: a windfall inheritance, real power within a major industry, a loving relationship with a former demon, and a baby on the way. She should be on top of the world, but knows everything good must come to an end.
Joanna’s sister, Kim Easterhouse, becomes Kim Slattery after marrying Sean, her dead mother’s probate lawyer. Joanna generously includes them as key players in her advertising chain. They, too, have much to smile about, but a string of events leads them back to old family secrets.
Wickedness looms over the Easterhouse family once more, forcing them into an unlikely showdown filled with page-turning excitement. Like Halo of the Damned, Halo of the Nephilim is filled with conspiracy and angel lore taken directly from scripture and other ancient writings. Nephilim meander the earth in confusion, constantly questioning who they are and where they stand in terms of good and evil. More mind control themes top off this tale of doom. Dina Rae delivers the darkness in the most entertaining light
Reading HALO OF THE DAMNED, the prequel to HALO OF THE NEPHILIM is an absolute must to understand the storyline/plot and character histories. It’s been 9 months since I read the first book and it took me nearly half of the second book to understand what happened in the first book. So be certain to read both books in a timely manner to understand and appreciate everything happening. As opposed to HALO OF THE DAMNED, this book read like a paranormal thriller and not a horror novel. It’s dark and the characters are genuinely evil, yet it lacks the gore of a slasher and creepiness of a psychological horror novel. I’d say it be the equivalent of a Brad Thor novel, only with a sinister paranormal backdrop.
There’s a half dozen storylines and a dozen characters to keep track of. The author does a fantastic job of giving each character a consistent and unique personality. Not once did I mix up the characters or felt like something was done for plot purposes only. The characters propel the plot forward at a heart-racing pace. If you are a thriller junkie, then this is your dark fantasy come to life. The lines between good and evil are blurred. There’s multiple groups of people merging and separating throughout the story, so it’s near impossible to predict the ending for any of the characters never mind the book.
I’m not an expert on bible passages, but I did find the alternate history plausible. Basically, the fallen are to blame for most of the rifts between God and man, including Noah’s flood.
Expecting a horror novel, I was slightly off-put by the genre. I’m not generally a fan of thrillers so because of that, I’d give this book a solid 3 1/2 stars. Eliminating my bias opinion and this is easily a four star novel. (B-)
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.)
Dina Rae is a new author here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her three novels, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, Be Paranoid Be Prepared, is a prequel of sorts to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Dina also freelances for various entertainment blogs.
Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs.Read More
Ink (The Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Published: June 25th, 2013
I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
Ink is in their blood.
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school’s kendo team, she is intrigued by him…and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they’re near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawingscome to life.
Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.
Reading INK was like watching someone test the water with their toes. The potential for a great story was within the author’s grasp, but I didn’t feel like she was willing to part from the comforts of YA cliches. The setting and culture of Japan was kept at arms length from the reader, since the narrator was neither a native nor wanted to become one. There’s a huge difference between watching a foreign movie with subtitles and a foreign movie “Americanized” (try watching both versions of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO). This book was the latter.
The book seems well researched enough. I enjoyed the descriptions of the area and the authenticity of the food. The scenes involving the ink were vividly described and were the few times I connected to the characters. I felt the magic and with the gray-tone images within the book I almost could see them come to life on my screen. I also enjoyed learning about the Kami, which are part of Japanese mythology (at least in this book).
Katie’s best friends, Yuki and Tanaka, lack depth and seems like they only exist for plot purposes. Neither one has any personal progression throughout the novel. I’m not quite sure why Myu disappears completely from the novel after the breakup. I would think that she would get involve in Katie’s life (negatively or positively) once it becomes apparent that her ex has a new girl on his mind. The love triangle, sigh, do I need to even go there?
It becomes apparent as the story progressed that it was moving in a very linear and predictable path. I wasn’t surprised at any of the twists, but I was pissed off at Katie for how she treated Jun during his big reveal. I was disappointed by Katie’s decision at the end and moreso by the fact that INK is not a standalone novel. Not every story needs to be drawn out into a trilogy. I think that even with the ambiguous ending that I would have been satisfied with letting my imagination fill in the future for Katie. (C+)
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.)
Amanda Sun was born in Deep River, a small town where she could escape into the surrounding forest to read. An archaeologist by training, her intense fear of spiders keeps her indoors where she writes novels instead. She will write your name in Egyptian Hieroglyphic if you ask, though. The Paper Gods is inspired by her time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. She currently lives in Toronto, where she keeps busy knitting companion cubes, gaming and sewing costumes for anime conventions. Ink is her first novel
Today, I’m happy to present the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2012. You can read my review of Reckoning by Molly M Hall. It’s one of those books that were so good that I purchased a second copy after reviewing just to share with friends. If you like paranormal romances with creepy scenes, then you’ll love this series. Check out the cover to book two! Beautiful!
Relentless (Dark Prophecy #2) by Molly H Hall
“Out of the darkness and into the fire.
The truth changes everything.”
The discovery of who and what she is changed Kat Matheson’s life forever, revealing a world she never knew existed. A world filled with ominous spirits, mystical beings and dark magic. And a powerful ruler who will stop at nothing to achieve his ultimate goal: her death. Now, in her fight to stay alive, and to protect those she loves, Kat begins the battle to take back what’s hers.
Teaming with the enigmatic Lovell, Kat searches for the clues that hold the secret to her destiny. Clues that take her to places she never imagined, exposing her life—and her heart—to dangers she never saw coming…
Coming soon…Relentless, Book 2 in the Dark Prophecy series.
Reckoning (Dark Prophecy #1) by Molly M. Hall
”They say the truth can set you free. I found out it can kill you.”
Seventeen-year-old Kat Matheson has never revealed the dark secret that sets her apart from everyone else: She can see and hear the dead. Until now, she has been able to ignore the strange apparitions and whispering voices. But it may not be that simple anymore. Haunted by eerie visions and increasingly frightening nightmares, Kat begins to fear she may be the target of a dark and ominous force from beyond the grave. Complicating matters is the arrival of her new neighbor, a young man she instinctively distrusts but is inexplicably drawn to. Gorgeous and mysterious, he seems to hold a disturbing knowledge of her long-held secrets.As she desperately tries to maintain control, events take an unexpected and violent turn. Discovering that nothing is what it seems and that her psychic abilities may involve far more than just communing with the dead, Kat may be forced to confront her worst fears and the powerful curse that controls her destiny.
I’ve spent most of my life in Colorado and currently live just outside of Denver. I write my books on a laptop perched atop a rather creaky desk, surrounded by two crazy and loving cats. I love to travel and have visited 27 of the 50 states, as well as Canada, Ireland and England. And there are still a lot of places I want to go.
I spent entirely too many years in the gray dullness of the corporate world, imagining something more exciting as I punched numbers on a keyboard. During that time, I worked on a degree in English Literature, but never quite managed to complete it. Mostly because I was too busy reading and creating fantasy worlds in my head. It’s actually my love of reading and imagining that led me to take up writing full time. I thought I should finally give all the characters in my head a voice.
Music is a huge part of my life and plays a big role in the creation of my books. Although I listen to everything from Johann Sebastian Bach and Dvorak, to Glen Miller and Bobby Darin, to Rihanna and Nox Arcana, as well as movie and video game soundtracks, there are two bands whose music is practically my lifeblood: Daughtry and Linkin Park. I will listen to or see them live anytime, anywhere.
I’m a fan of British television, Doctor Who (favorite doctor? David Tennant. Let the debate begin!), The Vampire Diaries, Japanese animé, Ghost Hunters, MI-5 and Eureka. And anything featuring James McAvoy. And I probably would never be able to unwind without That 70′s Show.
When I’m not reading and writing, you’ll probably find me listening to music, practicing yoga, working on my very inadequate French, playing piano, enjoying a lovely glass of red wine or champagne, or looking for inspiring landscapes to photograph.
I have written and rewritten this post countless times. I’m still not completely happy with this post, but I can’t grant my conscience any peace until I’ve said something on this situation. Goodreads is a war zone. I’ve been watching the drama on Goodreads rather intimately since my incident with that author nearly two months ago.
It was not a fun experience for me. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to piss on this author’s book today because I need some more fucking page views.” The truth was there were only 14 reviews in a 60 stop tour. Forgive me for saying 1 or 2. I didn’t LITERALLY mean one or two. But, it was my mistake for accompany that information with the review. It didn’t pertain to the book itself. I really feel guilty that it was my mistake that prompted the author to attack me. Theoretically, if I didn’t make a mistake, the whole incident never would have happened.
The tiffs between authors and reviewers is an everyday occurrence. But who is the bully in each situation isn’t as black and white as the participants want you to believe. It’s understandable if you stand up for your friends when one of them is attacked. That’s what friends are for. What’s not okay is for you and your friends to belittle and bully the other person until they never want to step foot on Goodreads again. Too many times what was originally said is blown out of proportion and what ends up happening is nothing short of childish.
It might be that many of these incidents occur because the reviewer does go slightly off topic and includes information that isn’t limited to the content of the book. It might not be a stretch to say that an author sucks at writing if several of their books have been sub-par, however, including what an author does outside of their books doesn’t have a place in a book review.
I wish that reviews would follow these two rules:
- Don’t post a review unless you read part or all of the book – Sample counts.
- Review the book and not the author – Tell me why the book sucks, not why the author sucks.
Shelving a book you’ve never read
I don’t use shelve books on my do-not-read list if the author behaves badly, but I’m not against it. I completely know why they do it. If I know that an author has gone after a reviewer previously I am much less likely to read/review the author’s books. I’m not on some moral mission to read only books by authors with good manners. Fact is that I don’t want to end up in the hot seat again because another author didn’t like what I wrote in a review. I’m not shifting the blame to the reviewer, but I really think that if WE were more proactive in not inciting drama that there would be less of it. Not only do some reviewers go outside of what should be in a book review, but some members on Goodreads actively LOOK for drama. (Screenshot taken from one of the comments on my review.)
There is an entire crew of people that search out and bait naive members of Goodreads. I don’t want to list people and I don’t need to. If you compare the comment logs of these incidents and you will see the same half dozen or so individuals making everything harder on the rest of us.
These people are trolls.
They have no purpose other than to make the rest of us fucking miserable. There will still be some drama between authors and reviewers without these trolls, but I DOUBT that it would be as severe as it is now. And it’s dangerous for bystanders too. Once you show any inclination that you think of one side favorably, you will be publicly called out and every post you make will be trolled. There is shady things going on with both sides, which is why I’ve tried to stay out of it. I’ve sent my <3 through PMs, but supporting someone that is on the current shitlist will only get YOU on the shitlist.
The Master List – Authors Behaving Badly
Something else that I’ve been pondering. How can authors that have behaved badly earn a second change? How can these people who we have blacklisted and humiliated clear their name? At the moment Goodreads works just like a sex offender list. Once an author is on that master list, there is no way for that author to step foot on that site without the label following their every post.
I think that there should be some path for retribution. Granted, there are some ‘special snowflakes’ that will be repeat offenders, but what about those that have learned from their mistakes. The reviewers shun these authors and then they’re surprised when these authors turn to the one place that offers them support and direction – STGRB. Whether or not they give rejected authors good advice, well…you can decide that for yourself.
I think people forget that authors are human beings too. We all make mistakes. What’s important is that it’s not repeated.
New Reviewers – They don’t understand that some authors care only about sales. Some authors will do ANYTHING to have only positive opinions of their book(s) available.
New Authors – They don’t understand that everything they say will be taken out of context and perceived in the worst way possible. They don’t realize that their Twitter and Facebook pages are opened to the public and therefore everything said on these sites will be screen-shot and forever associated with them.
Indie Writers – It’s implied that if an author did something wrong they were self-published. The well-known incident involving Wendy Darling and the author of The Selection was traditionally published. The author I had an incident with was from a small press publishing company. There are self-published authors that do behave badly, but avoiding books by self-published authors won’t guarantee that you will escape the drama. It’s like avoiding pregnancy. The only way to guarantee you won’t get pregnant is to not have sex. The only way to guarantee that you won’t get bullied over a review is to not write reviews.
I don’t know how to end this post anymore than I knew how to begin it. I apologize if it sounded like preaching. It’s something that I felt needed to be said. Feel free to disagree or agree with my opinions in the comments below.Read More