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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Parallax Groove Review

Title: The Parallax Groove
Author: Michael Loughrey 
Release date: May 13, 2014
Rating: 4/5
Publisher: FeedARead.com
Book Summary:
Slip inside The Parallax Groove and revel in fiction free from the straightjacket of realism. Previously published in noteworthy literary magazines, these fourteen short stories are a mesmerizing extravaganza of phantasmagorical fables in which the recognisably realistic is infused with the inexplicable and the unexpected, and deconstructivism subverts the familiar order of perception into exquiste disarray. Singular, surreal, intense, illuminating, incandescent, jocular, offbeat, risque and satirical The Parallax Groove is an exhilarating odyssey for freethinkers and nonconformists who eschew the Disneyfication of literature. 
Review:
 
The Parallax Groove is a collection of short stories written by Michael Loughrey. These stories had been published in other literary works previously, then joined together in an anthology all their own. As the book summary says, these short stories take a turns that you wouldn't expect. They bring reality and fantasy into a world all their own to create characters and plots that aren't normally seen in the writing world. 

My favorite out of the whole anthology had to be Off Road which was the second short story. Off Road was about a man whose car wasn't working properly. The short story takes the reader through fantastical situations like Billy, the main character of this short story, having to walk on his hands because he was losing parts of his brain every time he used a toilet. While Billy's adventures get a little dark and a little twisted by the end, it's one of the most easy to follow short stories. 

My only problem with The Parallax Groove is that there never seemed to be any point in the stories. While I understand the misdirection and crazy surrealism was what set these short stories apart, it was almost distracting. A lot of the language was difficult to grasp and hard to follow. I found myself looking up a lot of the vocabulary being used through the short stories to make sure I understood what was being conveyed and what was being said. 

Despite this, The Parallax Groove has short stories that are extremely well written and thought through. Each character has its own development no matter how crazy or twisted the situation seems. Descriptions, although at times a little superfluous, easily detailed exactly the landscape and the place in which these characters lived and battled. Each story had its own setting and its own rules in the way the physics of the world seem to run. It was truly creative, and I would recommend it with that statement at the forefront of the conversation. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

City of Secrets by Aoife Marie Sheridan

Title: City of Secrets
Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Release date: December 5th, 2013
Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: SynergEBooks
Book Summary:
A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?.

Step back into Saskia.
 
Review:

THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS FROM BOOK 1

Once again we're thrown back into the world of Saskia, though the war has gotten fiercer and battles are being waged. 

In the previous book, we find that Sarajane is wanted by a fallen angel named Lucien. Lucien wants to destroy the world and to do so he needs to rise, which is killing the other three angels. Sarajane must defeat Lucien in order to save Saskia and the three angels.

The main characters make their lovely appearances as well as Jessica (Sarajane's sister), Suraga, Carew, and little Mei.

Tristan could be a little bit overbearing when it came to Sarajane. I understand that Sarajane can't fight well, but she's learning--especially when it comes to her magic.

I have to say, in this installment of the Saskia Trilogy I really fell in love with Carew. If you have read the first book (which I recommend) then you'll know just how surprised I was. Although he can be cruel and cold, Carew is actually a very nice and caring person. He loves his sister Mei and will do anything to protect her. He does the same with Sarajane, helping and fighting with her throughout the book. I just--I love him.

I was glad to meet Mirium's sister Verona. She was very strong, and didn't take anything from anyone. Haha. I really enjoyed her presence, and her power is one of the coolest I've seen in a while. It definitely differed from Mirirum's and that was awesome.

Overall, it was a great book and I'm excited to see how the next installment turns out! (Maybe I'll get to see more of Carew!)


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Welcome to Scribeville!

Hello fellow writers, bloggers, authors, etc.!

Have you ever gone to a writing workshop, carrying a few pages of your manuscript to share and receive feedback? Has that ever gone sideways and in order to receive feedback means you'll have to read the portion of your manuscript to the workshop? I'm here to tell you that those public speaking fears are over! You can now create your own workshops and receive feedback and whatever length of manuscript you want.

Are you still interested? 

I'm talking about this new website called Scribeville! It was created by Samuel Odunsi Jr., a fellow writer and author. Find the name familiar? I reviewed one of his novels not too long ago!

So, what's the catch? Absolutely nothing

"What?" you ask. "What do you mean there's no catch? Nothing??"

Nothing. Scribeville is absolutely free. All you have to do is sign up and BAM a whole world of authors, writers, reviewers, and all sorts of other people in the writing community are right at your fingertips ready to give you feedback on whatever you want to be reviewed. 


In Scribeville you can create a Workshop that absolutely anyone can join. All you have to do is create a new workshop, set all the details, and upload whatever document you want to be given feedback on! Comments can be made on your piece, discussions can be created in your workshop. These are separate discussions that can only be viewed by those already admitted in.

Don't want just anyone to join your Workshop? No problem! You can make it a Private Workshop. Only people you want to read your Workshop can be given the link. You can't even find it through the Workshop database. 

Do you want people to see it and still want to make it a VIP section? You can add the option to approve or disapprove the people who are applying to join the Workshop! It's that simple!

On site tools make it easy for anyone to highlight, underline, scratch through, make a comment, circle, anything that you put on the page. And like I said before, this website is absolutely free

So what are you waiting for fellow writers, authors, etc.? Get onto Scribeville and see for yourself!

Here's the link to my own Workshop if you want to test the waters: Click here.

I hope to see all of you on there. Add me as a friend on there to open the online chat available on the website or send me an e-mail if you have any questions whatsoever about the site that I didn't cover in this blogpost. 

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan

Title: Eden Forest
Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Release date: November 6th, 2012
Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: Smashwords
Book Summary: 
Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty-one year old with family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a parallel world to earth. 

When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world that she is stepping into- a world where magical abilities are in everyone's possession. She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief, a guardian who captures her heart; and a darkness that wants to take it. On her journey, Sarajane discovers her magical abilities, and realizes too that they come with a price. Sarajane is truly tested as her own loved ones are put at risk- the ultimate question she is forced to ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?
Review: 

I was really excited when I received the request to review this book. I love, love fantasy novels. They're my favorite to write and to read. 

When I first started the novel, I was very, very confused. I had no idea what was going on. It took me a little bit to get used to the fact that the character in the prologue, Marta, is 25 years old. I kept confusing her as someone older. I have no idea why, because it's quite obvious that she's not older based on events that happen through the prologue. 

Believe it or not, Queen Bellona was one of my favorite characters. She is the villain in this novel, and her character was amazing. I love well written villains (those include Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Valentine (The Mortal Instruments), and others), because I hate them while loving them. And to be honest, she didn't even try to get mixed into the things she got mixed into. While she was already terrible and evil to begin with (stealing souls to keep herself young as well as trying to find a way to keep herself immortal), Lucian forces her to join his destruction plan. And to this she's absolutely helpless. 

Kiar and Neve were also characters that became my favorites. They were witty and enjoyable. They made me smile and when times were tough, they were great at cheering things up. ---SPOILERS-- It's been a while since I've cried after a character's death and Neve was about to be one of those characters that I cried for. To the end he protected Sarajane and never once questioned what he was doing for her. Kiar's pain was probably the worst to bare, however, because he was both blaming himself and Sarajane for what happened to Neve. --SPOILERS END--

Later on in the novel, we meet Mei a tiny adorable little girl that I fell in love with the minute she said hello to Sarajane. I won't reveal too much about Mei (I want you readers to get the full experience of her cuteness yourselves), but she reminded me of my little cousin. She was cute and tiny, and just all around adorable. 

Eden Forest as a whole was very well written. Aside from my confusion during the prologue, there were beautiful scenes, and realistic and well-rounded characters. Saskia was a beautifully built world with its own lore and creation stories. I felt like it was a place that I could visit and see with my own eyes. --SLIGHT SPOILER?-- I do wonder: when Sarajane first escapes Tristan and Liber into the desert, does she feel as if a month has gone passed (one day on Saskia = one month on earth) when the day goes on, or does it just feel like one day? --SPOILERS END--

I look forward to seeing how Sarajane moves forward in the next installment of The Saskia Trilogy, and learning about how things are being handled back home since her entrance into Saskia. How is Josh faring? Has anyone else questioned her disappearance? 

Thank you Aoife Marie Sheridan for allowing me to read your novel! It was unexpected and different. I look forward to hearing more from you.
M.A.Chase

Saturday, May 10, 2014

KIERA'S QUEST: PERCEPTIONS by Kristy Brown Review

I want to start of firstly by thanking Kristy Brown for allowing me to continue the Kiera's Quest series this far. 

Title: Perceptions 
Author: Kristy Brown
Release date: May 24th, 2013
Rating: 5/5
Publisher: MuseItUp
Book Summary: 
The Witch Queen has sunk to a new level of evil.

Kiera is helplessly stuck in Zakk’s realm. With the vortex destroyed, she is desperate to find a way home. Her Uncle Tom, her friends and now the boy she loves, are in danger. Will Kiera find the strength and the self-belief she needs to save them?

On her lonely journey she meets new allies from peculiar races. The Prophecy is all falling into place. Will Kiera be able to forgive the people she trusted? Will she be able to save the world from her twisted nemesis? Will she finally believe that she is indeed the ‘chosen one’?
 
Review: 


This is the third installment of Kiera's Quest.

CAUTION: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS

After the destruction of the vortex, Kiera is stuck in a foreign world knowing that he friends and family are in the danger of the Witch Queen. While there, she discovers things about herself and her parents, whom she never got to know. She teams up with all the races--human, Zantarian, Narekian, Hershen, and Capetorad--to get herself back home.

This installment has probably been my favorite so far in the series. During its course, it has shown other facets and layers that Kiera, Zakk, and the others have. It's shown their persistence, their bravery, and most of all the care they have for each other as well as others. 

In Perceptions, we see more of the Witch Queen. She is one of those characters whose persistence has really shown in the novel. While she hates affection and love, she deals with the love that Kiera's friends have for her in order to attempt to destroy everything Kiera loves. In turn, she is torturing herself. If that's not persistence and ambition, I don't know what is. 

We also see more of what the Witch Queen is capable of. While in Kiera's body, her magic is limited. Even with that, the Witch Queen is still able to hold her form and use minor magic (though she later receives help from an unsuspected accomplice). 

Kiera's new friends are an interesting bunch: 

The Capetorads are water creatures, who are able to manipulate water as long as they're hydrated. If in water, as long as they're in contact with some part of your body, you are able to use their gills to breathe. 

The only Hershen we meet in the novel is Mason who is able to "rip" himself apart into multiple clones, creating an army made up of one person. He is swift and strong, as described in the novel. It interests me to know more about him and his people. Are they all able to multiply in the same fashion? (Also, I really really hope the Witch Queen doesn't get hold of him or I will cry.)

(THERE IS ALSO SOME JUICY STUFF THAT HAPPENS WITH JOE AND IT'S PRETTY DRAMATIC. I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING MORE 'CAUSE YOU NEED TO READ  IT TO TRULY SAY OH MY GOODNESS IN A LOUD VOICE.)

The only problem I had in the novel (this doesn't really affect the rating) is the constant insistence by every male in Kiera's life to keep her safe. At this point, (although, I don't recall Kiera receiving any lessons in battle or combat) I feel like Kiera has proven that she can protect herself. She's faced the Witch Queen (with the help of her friends, of course) multiple times. If she wasn't capable of making sure to keep herself alive, the novel wouldn't have continued thus far, because she would be dead. 

That said, I loved Perceptions. The overall idea of the novel was phenomenal. I can't wait to learn more about Kiera and Zakk's family and how she will be when she finally steps into her role as 'the chosen one.'

Thanks again to Kristy Brown!

The next installment of Kiera's Quest is Choices.

M.A.Chase

Friday, May 2, 2014

Release Day Blitz | Seeress [Runes Series: #3] by Ednah Walters @EdnahWalters



Book Title: Seeress
Series: A Runes Novel #3
Author: Ednah Walters
Release Date: April 28th 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Presented by: As You Wish Tours

BLURB


I love Torin St. James...
I need his strength…
But someone from his past wants me dead.

Raine Cooper is certain of two things: her love for Torin St. James and her destiny to be a powerful seeress. But when she starts having premonitions, they are unclear and disturbing. Worse, they involve Torin. With her mother gone, her father dying, and her best friend in Hel, she is not sure who to talk to.

But when the visions become more personal and she foresees her future with Torin threatened by someone from his past, Raine becomes desperate for answers. Just her luck two new students arrive at her school and they seem to have answers. When with them, her powers are enhanced and her visions become clear. There is only one problem: Torin forbids Raine to see the two girls.

Can their love survive without trust? 

Runes Series Books:

 EXCERPT

Friday, February 21, 2014

Islands of the Heart by David Stringer Review

Title: Islands of the Heart
Author: David Stringer
Release date: July 27, 2012
Rating: 4.5/5
Publisher:Publicious Self-Publishing 
Book Summary:
What is it like to be a woman so exquisitely beautiful that no one ever really sees her face . . . only the dark emotions it arouses? What is it like to be a man of such physical presence he fears no one? Are these blessings or a curse? Could a woman love such a man? And when his world begins to fall apart, can their love survive the re-ignited violence of his past? Can a man forgive himself for an act that is unspeakable? Can you? Or are their limits to your forgiveness?Islands of the Heart is the story of a tough ex-soldier, Wolf, who has always handled life's problems with his fists. Wolf finds himself drawn into a series of events where that tactic no longer works. Things are mad worse when he cuts a violent swathe through New Zealand and Samoa, desperate to hide secrets from his past.Islands is also the story of the women in his life who love and fear for Wolf, who are damaged by  him yet will not close their hearts; who in the end are part of his salvation. Islands is ultimately however a story of the power of forgiveness--of the fact that we still need to forgive those who have wronged us, or forever live lives stunted by the poison of our hatred.

Review:

I have a warning to those reading this review: this is not for those who don't like foul language or anything kind of mature, I guess. There is a lot of that. Including multiple droppings of the F-bomb. 

There may be spoilers.

Islands of the Heart is an intricately laced story following the lives of characters who have all affected each other's lives in some way. Each of these characters is trying to find something about themselves and each of these characters finds that the old methods of dealing with problems aren't appropriate anymore--things have changed and so have they. 

David Stringer does an amazing job interweaving the stories of all his characters throughout the chapters. They changes of point of view are appropriately made and they always reveal so much about the character it's focused on without giving away too much at a time. Each section reveals a new layer of his characters, further complicating each personality. His descriptions were beautiful and his dialogue was witty and real. 


" 'America Sneezes and we all get the flu ' " (page 100).

One of the issues that I had while reading this book is the fact that I don't know much about Samoa, Australia, or New Zealand, or about Samoan, Australian, or Maori culture. It was sort of distracting because sometimes it was very difficult to follow the history that they were discussing or the things that they were saying. I also don't know about much in politics. If the characters were affected in anyway because of politics, I wouldn't understand why. There was also some language scattered throughout the book. For example, the question and answer given by Pepe and Steven on page 202:
'O a mai?' 
'Ua leilei. . .'
Since I don't speak the language, I have no idea if that's a greeting or just a simple question and answer.

However, aside from that, Stringer brings to life wonderful characters through description and action. It's like I'm watching a movie in my head: They feel so real to me. Their backgrounds are well thought out and the actions they take based on their backgrounds are right on point. The best part is that I can really see when their mindset is starting to change. Honestly speaking, they're a wonderful bunch of characters--they're broken in some degree or another--and I love them all equally. 

As mentioned above, his description is equally wonderful. When he flashes back to Wolf's army days, I feel like I'm there--in the action. My heart broke for Tania, and I felt calm when descriptions of scenery arose. His descriptions make me want to see the mountains and forest he described in person (and it's something that I've added to my bucket list). 


I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read Stringer's novel. It was different from what I've read in a while; it had a different sentence structure, and different way of describing. The difference was much needed and very wonderful. If you like this kind of contemporary literature, then you'll love this novel. 


Thank you David for giving me this opportunity!



M.A.Chase