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Review: Denai Touch by Tiffany Shand

Book Cover

 

Denai Touch is an unusual adult fantasy coming of age novel, where the maturation part takes place during the mid-twenties instead of adolescence. Cate McCray is the woman coming into her power and becoming immortal; if the process doesn’t kill her first. The prophesy about her also gives an added edge to proceedings. It enables us to see the extremes of Cate’s character, from fear of death, through to her strongest, when she finally fulfills the prophesy.  She is a very well-rounded person, and her involvement with her work partner, Jason, adds the necessary romance, and the fact that it’s forbidden increases the excitement.

I love Miss Shand’s imagination in creating the different races, and the social hierarchy of each of them. She has obviously put a lot of thought and planning into making this world work in every way; politically, economically, socially. It’s rare to find novels by new authors that are so well rounded, and Tiffany Shand has managed to put herself firmly in that category.

This is an amazing story, and I couldn’t put the book down. I would recommend it for anyone who loves fantasy involving witches.

4.5 Stars

Review of ‘Huw the Bard’ by Connie J. Jasperson

For those of you who saw my post on Friday, I recently proofread a book called Huw the Bard, for my good friend Connie J. Jasperson. Now, before this book gets launched TOMORROW, I have a little treat for you!

HTB Front Cover

‘Huw the Bard’ by Connie J. Jasperson

Book Review

The youngest master in the Bards Guild, eighteen-year-old Huw Owyn is at the top of his craft. But the artists’ quarter catches fire, forcing Huw to flee the burning city. The turmoil and panic involved in the spread of the fire is portrayed extremely clearly, and you sympathise with all those caught up in it.

The action at the start of the book sets up everything that is to follow. We see Huw’s pain, and grieve with him, at the loss of the rest of the Bard’s Guild – including his own father, the Guild Master. The pain is very real, and while I was proofreading this book, I occasionally had tears streaming down my face. We feel his anger when he learns it wasn’t an accident, and his terror of being discovered as he tries to escape. It’s a 200-league walk, as the crow flies, to the one place he might have a friend, though the path Huw must take is anything but straight and he must face many hardships along the way.

Throughout his journey, we watch Huw grow from a young, vain man used to being the center of attention, into a courageous man who finds he is capable of far more than he ever believed possible. The way Mrs. Jasperson does this is so life-like, you often expect him to leap off the page. But her amazing characterisation isn’t limited to the main protagonist, the vast array of supporting cast have all received the same attention to detail; regardless of how much time the reader spends with them, you immediately get a sense of who they are.

Although this sounds like a ‘journey of self-discovery’, it is far more than that. There is enough adventure spread throughout to satisfy all but the most bloodthirsty of readers, while not being too gory for those that aren’t partial to violence.

Now, of course, this is a fantasy book, so where would a review be without at least mentioning some of the weird and wonderful creatures Huw encounters on his journey into the wild northlands, the one possible place of safety for him. I could talk about the stupendous firedrake, which is pretty much a small version of a mythical dragon, or the ginormous wood-wraith which looked like an extremely tall tree unless you saw the eyes, or maybe even the fire-sprites. They may not be all that large, even look quite cute, but they’re viciously lethal – so venomous that you have to wash a sword in water at least two times before it is safe enough to sheath after killing one.

There is a wide spread of diverse issues addressed in this story. From murder and rape, to treason, and even homosexuality – all are handled with the utmost delicacy by Jasperson so you know exactly how her characters feel about each of them, as well as society’s view, through the eyes of Huw and the narrator. The author has hit the perfect balance in every aspect of this book. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the rest of the series.

A superb 5 STARS from me!

I hope this has whetted your appetite ahead of the launch tomorrow. Come back here in the morning to find the links to this amazing novel on Amazon!

Forbidden Road Review

FORBIDDEN ROAD by CONNIE J JASPERSON

Forbidden Road

This is a brilliant follow-on to Tower of Bones. Sequels are often iffy, as you don’t know whether the author can keep the momentum going. Mrs Jasperson has done that and more. This book is better written, more descriptive and more gripping than the first – and I read Tower of Bones five times!

The characters go through practically every emotion under the sun at some point in the story, and their reactions are so well done, you can’t help feeling it with them. There were points when I laughed out loud as I read, and points where I felt myself crying.

Right from the start of the novel I was hooked as the main characters turned the world upside-down – doing it on a dime when they were thrust into the arena unawares. There were more twists and turns to surprise me as I continued reading, and some things I never saw coming; things I never wanted to happen to them. The role-reversal at the end was brilliantly done, and you could empathise with the confusion it caused.

I would recommend this series to anyone, and will be going slowly crazy in my room while I wait for the next book to be released.

5 * * * * *

My favourite line: “Sometimes you skitter around from topic to topic like a fart in a skillet!”

You can buy it here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/WBDQ32

Review

I just went on facebook and found a post about a review. I clicked into it, and what should I find? My poetry anthology! Here it is:

http://darksidebookreview.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/hearts-and-minds-maria-va-johnson.html?spref=fb

Hearts and Minds, Maria V.A. Johnson

Today I am reviewing Hearts and Minds, written by Indie author and poet Maria V.A. Johnson.  Various events have conspired this week to put me into a contemplative mood, and that is when I reach for the poetry. I found this to be the perfect book to soothe and refresh my spirit.
THE BLURB: The most important human experiences of love and death are beautifully explored in this anthology. With carefully selected and themed sections: Loss; Love; Lyrical; and Life, the emotions invoked by the words as they flow over the page will touch your heart.
WHAT I LIKED:
I was struck by the beautifully crafted poem, The Chair. In the first few lines, we come to know the elderly person who once owned the chair, and in the final lines we feel the sense of loss the observer feels as they look upon the chair whose owner has now passed on. It is poignant, yet not maudlin, allowing the reader to absorb the scene of the chair, the reading glasses and the emptiness of the room.
Ode to my Bookcase brought a smile to my face, as I could totally relate to the sentiments expressed.  I too love my bookcase and the contents therein!
Bullied is a raw look at the emotional baggage that comes along with being the outcast, the one picked on at school. This one brought tears to my eyes.
This is the perfect book for a contemplative day. The compilation is divided into four sections: Loss, Love, Lyrical and Life, though many of the poems and odes span the boundaries between them all.
Hearts and Minds is available in both paperback and for the Kindle, both are very reasonably priced. Maria V. A. Johnson is a contributing author on the anthology The Other Way Is Essex, and is also a well-known editor, most recently she was the editor of Heart Search – Lost, a paranormal romance by Carlie M. A. Cullen.
Thank you so much Connie J Jasperson! An amazing review!

Alana Siegel Book Review

I have recently been editing a book, Alana Siegel’s The Retreat, and decided I would share my views on it.

The second book in the Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program series, this book is as well written and as captivating as the first. Following the lives of gifted teenagers, you watch them grow up as they learn to deal with problems – both relating to their gifts, and normal teenage dilemmas. You find yourself living the experience with them, empathising with their issues; only some of which we can relate to. Written in first person, this frame work makes it easy to connect with the main character but often detaches you from the supporting cast; which doesn’t happen here. While reading it I had to keep a box of tissues handy as I found myself crying whenever Olivia’s boyfriend hurt her, yet I could still empathise with Max when he was torn up about his sister. This book is so gripping you are dragged into the story and become unable to put it down. This book ends on a cliff-hanger, and it kept me up half the night wondering what came next – I even caught myself trying to make it up so I could get over it and get some sleep!

I am currently on tenterhooks waiting for Alana to write the third book in the series so I can find out what happens to this brilliant cast of characters next.

Book 1 of the Gifted Program

Book 2 of the Gifted Program