Required Reading

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

This is a poignant tale of a gifted girl who grows into a woman in an environment that either kills or exploits those with uncanny gifts. 

This is the first book in a series.  The author does a superb job in crafting a confused young woman facing self doubt and distrust on every side.   Neryn is likeable but she is troubled, unable to trust in herself or anyone else.  Flint comes into her life.  Flint is unbelievably noble and self sacrificing. 

The combination of these two complex characters provides a high level of character tension that propels the story forward.  My recommendations are not so much a review as an expression of like or dislike on my feelings for a book.   I particularly like books that provoke emotion.   If a story captures my feelings and evokes emotion, I will normally like it. 

The uncanny folk provide the necessary color and flair

to the story.   Their diversity and their abilities provide a savory touch.

I really liked the book. 

I recommend the book. 

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shala Trilogy by Cathy Benedetto

The Eyes of Sandala; Dark Shala and The King of the Fels by Cathy Benedetto 

This is a trilogy.  As an avid fan of anthropomorphism, I enjoyed the communication with the Fels (cats of all types) in this book.   The Shala are the guardians of Sandala and the Fels are their companion warriors. This is a well crafted environment with a tried and true formula of a large empire wanting to

become even larger.   The implacable enemy is startled to find a more than worthy adversary in the Shala. 

The common folk are intimidated by both the Shala and the Surmese who are invading.  Sandala is comprised of multiple kingdoms, none of which are singularly a match for the Surmese.  

The tales told in these three books, highlight the relationship between Tahjeen and Ariann, the sacrifices made by the Fels and the heroics of the strictly human allies of the Shala.

I enjoyed the books and I recommend the book.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cathy Benedetto Virtual Tour May 13 to June 12, 2013

About Cathy Benedetto:
Ms. Benedetto is a writer, artist and avid reader. Her love of science fiction and fantasy inspired her trilogy about the mystical race of warriors known as Shala. Her favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, and Orson Scott Card, have spun stories that shifted Cathy’s imagination into high gear.

The former Vice Principal and education consultant, Cathy was also a five time softball All-American, and AAU basketball All-American. She was a member of the U.S. Women’s basketball team that played in the World University Games in Czechoslovakia and the Pan American Games in Canada. While coaching, she was published in the Women in Sports magazine and wrote a column for the Bellevue Journal American.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Cathy moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 2003. The former coach enjoys supporting the Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball team, woodturning, lapidary arts, and loves fishing on her pontoon boat. A special joy is playing with David, Charlotte, Kendall, Lily, and Liz.

Dark Shala
Book Synopsis:
Vigilance reader! There are more battles, more strategies, more Shala and Fels and most of all more mysteries! Many questions about the Shala from The Eyes of Sandala have been answered and many new ones arise. The most pressing question being who are the Dark Shala and what is their place in the war? But the mysteries do not end there, as new characters bring new questions and new prophecies as well. The back and forth battles cause each side to make adjustments in strategy which lead to more suspense and a strong desire to find how the future will unfold.

The Eyes of Sandala
Book Synopsis:
Like the Navi on Pandora, the exotic warrior race called Shala dominates the continent of Sandala. Over seven feet tall and as strong as three men, the dark-skinned Shala share a life-long bond with wild felines. The fierce fighters are blessed with telepathic powers, and have eyes that radiate a kaleidoscope of colors.
The Shala live apart from the humans of Sandala, dwelling inside the crater of an extinct volcano. But when invaders appear, they must obey the prophecy and rise to defend the land. It will take all the cunning and guile of their young leader, Tahjeen Tier, to contend with assassination and betrayal, and a massive army poised to attack.

The King of the Fels
Book Synopsis:
In the exciting conclusion to the Shala Trilogy, Latiga is under siege, travel mirrors are lost, lovers have been torn apart by the ravages of war, and the King of the Fels is dying. These are the challenges that Tahjeen Tier, leader of the Shala, contends with as he confronts the King of the Fels to find out why he must sacrifice his own people to save the Sandalese. Is there something special about these particular humans? While Tahjeen demands answers, the Surmese invaders are poised to launch their own final two battles — one in the heartland’s frontier, home of the fels, and the other at Latiga, the capital of Palaton. As humans and Shala gather for the final battle, Tahjeen learns the truth about his unborn son.

Tour Schedule and Activities

May 13  - Writings, Musings, and Other Such Nonsense - Guest Post
May 14 - Sheila Deeth - Interview
May 15 -Read 2 Review - Guest Post
May 17 - Breath of Life - Review
May 19 - Sapphyria’s Book Reviews - Promo/Spotlight
May 20 - Spellbindings - Character Interview
May 21 – SpecMusicMuse - Review
May 22 - Beagle Book Space - Promo/Spotlight
May 23 - Pandragon Dan -Review
May 26 - Azure Dwarf - Review
May 27 –JeanzBookReadNReview - Interview
May 29 - Crossroads Reviews - Review
May 31 - Angela Meadon -Interview
June 1 - The FlipSide of Julianne - Guest Post
June 4 - The Dan O’Brien Project - Promo-Excerpt
June 6 - Darlene’s Book Nook - Guest Post
June 8 - Mom Cat’s Book Blog - Character Post
June 11 - Kayla’s Reads and Reviews - Guest Post
June 12 - Recent Reads - Review

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Burning the Middle Ground by L. Andrew Cooper

I guess luke warm would be my feelings on this book.  I don't read a lot of horror so I end  up making comparisons to Stephen King or Michael West.  This book is about a small town in a metaphysical melt down.

The characterizations are good but I didn't find any  character compelling. Jake Warren was a good enough villain but I  didn't  find myself attached to any of the characters.

The author does a good job starting the story with a bang, a sad bang but still a bang.  After that, I had  to work to continue  to read.  I think the story will garner a following but I guess it just wasn't my cup of  tea.

Web Site

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

L. Andrew Cooper Virtual Tour May 8 to June 7, 2013

About L. Andrew Cooper:
L. Andrew Cooper thinks the smartest people like horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. Early in life, he couldn’t handle the scary stuff–he’d sneak and watch horror films and then keep his parents up all night with his nightmares. In the third grade, he finally convinced his parents to let him read grownup horror novels: he started with Stephen King’s Firestarter, and by grade five, he was doing book reports on The Stand.

When his parents weren’t being kept up late by his nightmares, they worried that his fascination with horror fiction would keep him from experiencing more respectable culture. That all changed when he transitioned from his public high school in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia to uber-respectable Harvard University, where he studied English Literature. From there, he went on to get a Ph.D. in English from Princeton, turning his longstanding engagement with horror into a dissertation. The dissertation became the basis for his first book, Gothic Realities (2010). More recently, his obsession with horror movies turned into a book about one of his favorite directors, Dario Argento (2012). He also co-edited the textbook Monsters (2012), an attempt to infect others with the idea that scary things are worth people’s serious attention.

After living in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, Andrew now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he teaches at the University of Louisville and chairs the board of the Louisville Film Society, the city’s premiere movie-buff institution. _Burning the Middle Ground_ is his debut novel.

Burning the Middle Ground
Book Synopsis:
Burning the Middle Ground is a dark fantasy about small-town America that transforms readers’ fears about the country’s direction into a haunting tale of religious conspiracy and supernatural mind control. A character-driven sensibility like Stephen King’s and a flair for the bizarre like Bentley Little’s delivers as much appeal for dedicated fans of fantasy and horror as for mainstream readers looking for an exciting ride. Brian McCullough comes home from school and discovers that his ten-year-old sister Fran has murdered their parents. Five years later, a journalist, Ronald Glassner, finds Brian living at the same house in the small town of Kenning, Georgia. Planning a book on the McCullough Tragedy, Ronald stumbles into a struggle between Kenning’s First Church, run by the mysterious Reverend Michael Cox, and the New Church, run by the rebellious Jeanne Harper. At the same time, Kenning’s pets go berserk, and dead bodies, with the eyes and tongues removed from their heads, begin to appear.

Author Links in html:
Website and Blog 
Google+: landrew42

Tour Schedule and Activities

May 8 - Read 2 Review  - Character Post
May 9  - readings Sunshine - Review
May 10 - Spellbindings  - Guest Post
May 11 - Beagle Book Space - Promo/Spotlight
May 12 - SpecMusicMuse - Review
May 14 - Workaday Reads -Guest Post
May 15 - The FlipSide of Julianne - Interview
May 16 - Once Upon a Time - Guest Post
May 17 - Sheila Deeth - Character Post
May 18 - Azure Dwarf - Review
May 19 - MikesFilmTalk - Review
May 20 - Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews - Interview
May 21  - Beauty in Ruins - Review
May 24 - Book Den - Guest Post
May 25 - Come Selahway With Me - Excerpt
May 28 - The Dan O’Brien Project - Promo/Excerpt
May 31 - Armand Rosamilla, Horror Author - Guest Post
June 1   - Bee’s Knees Reviews- Review
June 3   - Rachel Tsoumbako - Review
June 4   - Fictional Candy - Excerpt
June 5   - I Smell Sheep - Guest Post
June 7   - Darlene’s Book Nook - Guest Post

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nabka by Jason S. Walters

Nakba is defined by the author as an Arabic word meaning disaster, catastrophe or cataclysm.  In this book it is also synonymous with diaspora.  The world has been homogenized by Posthegemony rule.  Everyone is happy and everyone is in their place until silverscreen icon lifts from the planet and flaunts dissonance in the collective Posthegemony face.

In many ways the story here is more important than the characters that populate it.  The author has defined the primary dissents as Interesting People.  The definition places Interesting People as semi-mythological until they define the unified power of the Posthegemony.   I delighted in the Interesting People concept.  

Downstar was another concept that was delightful.  Not only are special needs folks mentioned, they command a major role in the book and it appears in the fore coming books.

I’ve not encountered Mr. Walters work before but I will most definitely be looking for the sequel to this excellent novel.   I see some interesting reading ahead!

I highly recommend the book.   

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Jason S. Walters Virtual Tour May 1 to May 31, 2013

Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its general manager. After owning a San Francisco bike messenger service for 15 years, he and his wife Tina moved to Midian Ranch: a homestead near the town of Gerlach, Nevada. It is also the location of IPR’s warehousing complex. They have a daughter with Down syndrome named Cassidy and animals too numerous to mention.

Author Links:

Book Synopsis:
A thousand years ago humanity’s dissidents fled, leaving behind a peaceful, unified world content to exist in a state of perpetual hedonism. Then a daring escape plunged civilization into chaos, forcing its rulers to expand outward to maintain order. Now all that stands between a newly imperial Earth and the rest of the solar system is a loose coalition of Maasai tribesmen, cloned feminists, shape-shifting humannequins, and vengeful Berbers led by the least likely hero in human history: a young woman with Down syndrome and a bad attitude.

An Unforgiving Land Reloaded
Book Synopsis:
In the desert life is hard. It can also be surreal. In the absence of congestion and convention, imagination takes you by the hand: or the balls. In this macabre collection of riveting tales, ENnie Award-nominated author Jason S. Walters grabs the reins of storytelling as if it were a wild stallion, leading the reader ever deeper into the physical and spiritual wasteland of the Black Rock Desert.

Tour Schedule and Activities

May 1 - Read 2 Review - Guest Post
May 2 - Makayla’s Book Reviews - Interview
May 3 - The Dan O’Brien Project - Promo/Excerpt
May 5 - Crossroads Reviews - Review
May 6 - Beauty in Ruins - Guest Post
May 8 - Reading Away the Days - Contest/Giveaway
May 9 - Ian’s Realm - Guest Post
May 10 - Angela Meadon - Interview
May 12 - A Book Vacation - Guest Post
May 14 - Azure Dwarf - Review
May 15 - Book in the Bag - Interview
May 16 - Word to Dreams  -  Spotlight and Giveaway
May 17 - The FlipSide fo Julianne Guest Post and Excerpt
May 18 - Mom Cat’s Book Blog - Guest Post
May 20 - Lost Inside the Covers - Review
May 21 - I Read a Book Once - Contest/Giveaaway
May 22 - Rachel Tsoumbakos - Review
May 23 - Darlenes Book Nook - Guest Post
May 26 - Bee’s Knees Reviews - Review
May 28 - Once Upon a Time - Guest Post
May 31 - Library Girl Reads and Reviews - Character Post

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Val Con, a Liaden spy and Miri, a retired Terran mercenary find themselves thrust together by separate enemies.  The enemies may be separate but they fate they plan for the reluctant partners is the same: DEATH.

I enjoyed this, the first of the Liaden Universe series.   It has lots of action and the characters are complex and myriad.   I found myself enjoying such diversities and Edger and the implacable Yxtrang.  The story is colorful and the plot is intricate enough to keep your interest.

Val and Miri and very different and yet share many characteristics.   The exploration of their mutuality provides a lot of the character tension in the book.  

I looked at Sharon Lee’s web site and discovered how many of these books there are and felt embarrassed that I had not read any sooner.  I will need to remedy that.

I recommend the book.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe

Eddie  LaCrosse may be my new favorite character.   Alex Bledsoe has crafted a great believable hero.  This installment of a terrific series has Eddie caught up in a war of secessions in a Camalot type of island.

Foibles are what make Eddie so believable.  He gets hurt, he isn't always right and he is not invincible.   When he hits someone in the head with his hand, his hand is injured as well as the face he it.  Regardless of unlikely scenarios, a believable hero makes for a much more interesting story.  

Bledsoe also makes it clear that war and the ensuing mayhem are dreadful.   He doesn't glorify violence and makes sure his characters say true to form.

The Eddie LaCrosse series is fun to read, engages you and even  makes you do some philosophic pondering. 

I highly recommend both the book and the series. 
The next in line is  The Wake of the Bloody Angel, which I also loved.

I highly recommend it too.

Body of work of <a type="amzn"> Alex Bledsoe </a>

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.