Tag Archives: fantasy

Winter is icumen in

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ram

And Winter is the Winter Sisters, Victory, Payton and Willow. Each with their own special gift and ability and each falling in love with a different soldier in the elite squad of Army, Navy and Airforce. Author Joanne Jaytanie.

The series I am reviewing contains 3 novels, the latest published being Willow’s Discovery, published this October, which I read first through NetGalley.

This series is far from finished as far as I am concerned, as although each sister now has a mate – there is so much more that can happen to other characters and in the story-line.

So yes, I started with Willow’s Discovery and was only a quarter of the way through when I realised I wanted to read the first 2 books as well. I could read the 3rd book first but it would have been better to read them in the correct order.

Now the story line of all 3 concerns DNA being manipulated to give us extra fierce soldiers –this isn’t a new idea. The concept of the formidable soldier is common in fantasy but for me what was new was that the characters were splicing wolf genes into the soldiers to make them bigger, stronger, and fiercer.

And two of the alpha males – yes they are all alpha males in this story as they are members of the elite squad mentioned above – have been experimented on with these wolf genes with very different results. But many of the males and females in this series have extra abilities and they haven’t had wolf genes added, and the question never answered (but it was raised) in the books is – was there some gene manipulation going on in utero?

Interestingly, I am now reading another series of books where again canine DNA is inserted into soldiers to make them fiercer – the fantasy series of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter and Fairest.

Having come across this idea by two authors I thought I would look into what was happening with canine DNA and why this idea had come to these authors. And to my surprise found that canine DNA was being used for disease studies in humans [see the articles from the dmm.biologists organisation; National Geographic; Genome Research].

It appears that dogs get similar diseases to humans with the same genetic and environmental factors involved. These genes relate to diet and digestion, and neurological processes and disease which have evolved parallel in both species due to living in the same shared environment. These shared diseases include obesity, OCD, epilepsy, and cancers especially breast cancer (cancer is twice as common in dogs as in humans), and retinal diseases including cataracts.

Dogs only share 84% of our DNA  as compared to chimpanzees – 98.8%, monkeys – 93% and mice 90%, but we share some 360 genetic disorders with them, even though some of these only occur in 40% of dog breeds such as the Doberman Pinchers with inherited narcolepsy which has enable scientists to understand the molecular mechanisms of regulating sleep. And the last item explains something about why these stories include Dobermans as they were clearly being used in the genetic research of the organisation.

And I also looked into Tollers as they were a new breed of dog to me. Not that that’s saying a lot as there are so many new breeds appearing at the moment…nova-scotia-duck-tolling-retriever

So the basic stories were about criminal behaviour, kidnapping, torture and unusual experiments and general mayhem and brave deeds by the alpha males with feisty females assisting using their special powers. A good mix of fantasy and war stories, with some organised fraud and crime thrown in for good measure.

I really enjoyed all 3 of these books and am inclined to give them all 5 stars.

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Simulate and activate your alternate

Simulation (Bk 2 in series): see PoP Travel

by

Tara Tyler

 

Would you really want life eternal? Just as when asked would I want to go to heaven, I think, hmm –might it not get boring after a while? Once you have done everything and been everywhere, what is there left to do? ‘Course if you are a megalomaniac you can always find some mischief – or can you?

This is really a story about cloning brains and robots and as I have been watching ‘Humans’ on TV, I can see the appeal of all the nice bodies you could have – imagine if you could sculpt away all your bad parts and improve all your good parts. I would be six foot tall, red-haired, slim and very athletic. I would have long slim legs with a nice thigh gap and my breasts would support themselves, I would definitely have a bikini ready body… oh well. I can but imagine what I would look like. But would I want to live that long? No, actually I wouldn’t. If you believe that every day could be your last, then you act as your best person. You do good rather than bad/evil. You assume that you may well die today/tomorrow and thus there will be no time to address your bad bits, no time to right those wrongs. Life eternal could definitely lead to selfish, self-absorbed, moralistically challenged people. You could use your clone (if you were still alive) to do your work, and to do all the things you don’t want to/ couldn’t/ wouldn’t normally, do. And this has got to be bad.

I sort of see why people might want to clone a beloved pet and this is actually now done – there is Britain’s first cloned dog – would normally cost £60,000 (!) but she won a competition for her.Britain_s_first_clone_dog

I found this book amusingly written but not as exciting or innovative as Pop Travel. I am giving this 3.5 stars – .5 for the humour.

 

 

Paranormal babysitting? Teleportation? Whatever next?

CR Banner

Today’s the day for a dual cover reveal: OF SCIONS AND MEN by Courtney Sloan and GYRE by Jessica Gunn! Both books are in the New Adult category and are being published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Here’s a bit about each book:

OF SCIONS AND MEN by Courtney Sloan (February 22nd, 2016)

Geopolitical babysitting while arresting preternatural killers, it’s just the daily grind for Scion Rowan Brady. Brash and sarcastic, Rowan has sold her life, her career and her very blood to the controlling paranormal ruling class of America, all to make sure her kid brother can eat. Now she uses her powers as a scion to kick the ass of any preternatural creature idiotic enough to break the rules and prey upon humanity without a license. All it costs her is her freedom and a pint or two per week to her new Master.

But juggling her job and duties becomes even tougher when she is tasked with keeping a contingency of diplomats from Canada from getting gnawed on. However, negotiations for an International Blood Exchange are interrupted when bodies start showing up.

Now Rowan must rely on her talent and wit to defend the society she despises to save the lives she’s sworn to protect. But as she stumbles into the truth, she chances becoming a target of not only these killers, but of her own government. With shifters, ghosts, vampires and psychics all watching her, can she stop the killings before she is silenced?

ADD OF SCIONS AND MEN TO GOODREADS HERE

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GYRE by Jessica Gunn (February 1st, 2016)

Trevor couldn’t believe his eyes when Chelsea teleported onto SeaSatellite5. The miracle is Trevor’s absolute worst nightmare. Chelsea is Atlantean, which would be fine if Trevor’s family weren’t Lemurian—enemies of Atlantis.

Then SeaSatellite5 uncovers Atlantean ruins and stumbles into the crosshairs of an ancient war. The Lemurians want the artifacts inside the ruins, and Trevor’s the only one onboard who recognizes the relics for what they really are: Link Pieces, tools used by ancient civilizations to wage their time-travel war.

Chelsea and Trevor must brave the gyre of lies surrounding them. If they can’t, Atlantis will be destroyed forever.

ADD GYRE TO GOODREADS HERE

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Are you ready to see the covers?

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Here we go!

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GYRE & OSAM

PRE-ORDER GYRE HERE!

PRE-ORDER OF SCIONS AND MEN HERE!

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ABOUT COURTNEY SLOAN

Courtney SloanA New Orleans native, Courtney Sloan relocated to the hills of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. There she lives with her husband and fellow author, J.P. Sloan, their son and their crazy German Shepherd pup. Adding to her writing life, Courtney is also a professor at the local college and enjoys learning a world of new ideas from her students as she teaches them about writing and communicating. Courtney’s New Orleans upbringing has left her with a love for the macabre and a flare for the next to normal. She writes speculative fiction with a variety of horror and sass mixed in for flavor.

She loves taking the world of politics that haunts us now, and adding the supernatural to create a gumbo of thrills to keep you up at night. A self-proclaimed lover of way too many fandoms, Courtney also loves crafting. From blankets to jams to stories, it’s always better homemade.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

ABOUT JESSICA GUNN

1951de5Jessica Gunn is a New Adult author and avid science-fiction and fantasy fan. Her favorite stories are those that transport the reader to other, more exciting worlds. When not working or writing, she can be found binge-watching Firefly and Stargate, or feeding her fascination of the ancient world’s many mysteries. Jessica also holds a degree in Anthropology.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Website

The Tigger’s 2015 in review: stats and more

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Now at the start of the year I made some a series of reasons why people should read this blog so that I could gain 1000 followers. I now have 385 that read this blog directly; 29 read through Tumblr; and 985 see my book reviews through my FaceBook page – https://www.facebook.com/elayne.coakes which does have other stuff on it too.

So what I said was:

  1. I don’t blog a lot about my health and moan about my family or the state of the union or be vehement about my politics or… I blog about a variety of subject matters that interest me and hopefully you, some of which, especially as the majority of my followers are from the US, may be unfamiliar to you;
  2. I write good grammatical English (UK spelling), properly punctuated, and I know how to use the apostrophe. I don’t usually write in stream of consciousness mode but nice precise paragraphs.
  3. I write about a good variety of subjects so you are very likely to find something to interest you in them  – from flowers and gardens, to crafts, to travel, to – in particular – books. Illustrated by my husband’s excellent photographs. As a European I get to a lot of countries you may wish to visit in Europe, but also have been to many more exotic locations such as China and India and these are  described here. More still to come on past adventures, but this year I shall be flying out to Boston and New York and cruising back on the Queen Mary 2; and also Ireland later in the summer for sure. [Sorry, 2015 has been dominated by books but still I did cover other items, and shall try to do better in 2016]
  4. I read a lot of books and write informative and well researched reviews that don’t give the plot away and are not summaries. There is no plot synopsis but a comment that will be relevant to the subject matter and will inform. [2015:This is absolutely still true and will continue to be so]
  5. If I can get over 1000 followers, I will be authorised by more publishers on the NetGalley site which means I will get to read yet more books that are just being published, and more books by new authors you may not yet have heard of. I shall endeavour to keep up the interviews with them that I have recently started. [2015:I now have at least one author interview a month, sometimes more, and I am recognised by several publishers as shown by my widgets including being in the Brash Priority Reveiwer’s Circle]

 Here are details of 2014’s activity to compare to this year’s:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was January 21st with 75 views. The most popular post that day was Feminism? Vegetarianism? Linked or not?. In 2014, there were 60 new posts.

Click here to see the complete report. for 2015.

And do please comment and come and read more posts!

The cat has 9 lives

Homunculus and the Cat

by

Nathan Croft

A NetGalley Review

This author has been steeped in legends, myths and folklore and has used all their knowledge to astound the reader with the breadth of disciplines involved n this story.

I thought I was quite widely read about fantasy and folklore, myths etc and all the afterlifes and hells – after all I had researched Greek myths for one book review, and I had read the series of books about Hell. But the references here baffled me and thus I had to bookmark page after page of things to work out what they were – which of course meant that I couldn’t understand the story as these items were quite crucial to the story-line. And if I was baffled in lots of places, then without being too egotistic, I suspect a large numbers of readers, except those in a very closely knit community of fantasists would be also. This greatly limits the audience for this book and means that I would initially have given it 1 star.

The average reader would either have to continue reading only understanding a part of what was read; or stop and look things up, which greatly interrupts the story.

However, for those people familiar with all these myths, folklore, fantasy worlds, there may well be a 2 or even a 3 star ranking available. I just couldn’t tell. I was not the intended audience it seems. PS, there is a wonderful page on Wikipedia which lists legendary creatures or myth, folklore and fairytales by classification.

So here are the items that I didn’t know about but needed to – and what I found out about them. But don’t take my word that I got it all right as I looked these things up after reading the book, and thus they are not in context.

  1. Orichalcam: a metal mentioned in the story of Atlantis as per the Critias of Plato. It is magenta coloured. Interestingly, some was recovered in January 2015 in a ship that sank 2,600 years ago off Sicily. In the ship, the ingots were found to be an alloy of copper and zinc and small amounts of nickel andiron. The question arise then as to whether this really was oricahum?
  2. Chakram: a throwing disk originating in India. Can be boomerang in type.
  3. Hekatonkheire: a giant god of storms and hurricanes in the Geek myths. 100 hands. There were 3 of them according to this myth, brothers of the Elder Cyclops and Elder Titans and offspring of Gaia and Uranus.
  4. Ennedi: is a plateau in Chad, Africa, reputedly to have a living sabertooth tiger.
  5. Czerno bog: no such bog. However, Czerno is a village within Poland. It is very small with a population of around
  6. Rod: I have no idea here but it could refer to the Rod of Asclepius or staff, which is associated with medicine and healing.
  7. Sun Wukong: a warrior magician in the form of a monkey, hatched from a stone egg according to Chinese myths – not an afterlife place.
  8. Marduk: He was a late generation god from Mesopotamia and patron deity of Bablyon city. He was later considerd to be head of the Babylonian pantheon of gods
  9. Inanna: again old Babylonian. The Sumerian goddess of love, fertility and warfare.
  10. Turritella: medium sized sea snails with tightly coiled shells, looking like a cone.
  11. Atargatis: she was the chief goddess of northern Syria – fertility but also responsible for protection and well-being. Sometime described as a mermaid- goddess but this may be an incorrect / mis-identification of the shrine. But fish were sacred to her. As were doves, as fish were symbolic of the fertility and life of the sea.
  12. Shikome: see number 17 below.
  13. Annwyn: was the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruld by Arawn or Gwyn ap Nudd – a world of delights and eternal youth and health and food.
  14. Fusang: Chinese entity or mythological mulberry tree of life or a mysterious land to the East
  15. Cynnamolgus or should it be Cynomolgus: a crab-eating macaque; or the mythical Aritotle’s cinnamon eating bird which were giant birds. Their eat or made their nests from cinnamon sticks.
  16. Hippogriff: front quarters of an eagle and the hindquarters of a horse.
  17. Yomotsu-shikome: aka ‘ugly woman of the underworld’ in Japanese, was a hag sent by Izanami to pursue her living husband for shaming her. There may be 8 such hags. Japanese mythology combines the Shinto pantheon with several kami or gods.
  18. Yomotsu-hisame: an alternative spelling for the hags of Yomi
  19. Yomi: being an underworld of Japanese mythology
  20. Izamagi: seems to be incorrectly spelled – should be Izanagi? A deity born of the 7 divine generations in Japanese mythology – ‘the male who invites’. The first male to be born and who create the world with his sister Izanami.
  21. Manticore: Persian myth aka ‘man-eater’. Also in Greek myths as a creature of multiple parts – lion, humans, scorpion tail.
  22. Stheno: a gorgon sister of Medusa and Euryale – see 23. Eldest of the sisters and parents being Phorcys and Ceto.
  23. Euryale: see 22.

Monks, Machines, Saboteurs – just what more is there to add?

THE ACTUATOR 2: RETURN OF THE SABOTEUR, by James Wymore and Aiden James

cover1000

Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy Thriller

 

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

 

Date of Release­­: 07/20/15

 

Cover Artist: Michelle Johnson at Blue Sky Design

 

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

 Description:

 The Machine Monks fight to keep control of the Actuator while enemies attack the base. As besiegers wear them down, the rest of the world struggles to adapt to the chaos left in the wake of the great change. Their only choice is to push forward and find the next key and shutdown the fantasy realm surrounding the base. When they do, Xenwyn will die.

Haunted by the incalculable death toll all over the earth, Jon accepts the mission to recover the next key. Despite his injuries and as much as he hates to leave his newfound love, he refuses to let all of humanity suffer if he can fix it.

Desperate to keep Xenwyn alive, Red determines to find a magical cure before Jon gets back with the key. Each time he takes her across a border, might be the end.

Seeing all his friends in turmoil, Dragon Star sets out to find the saboteur. If the architect of this dark world cannot offer any means of setting things right, he will at least see consequences for the horrors he unleashed.

None of them ever imagined the Actuator could still make the world even worse.

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Moving often as a youth, James Wymore’s family finally settled in the desert paradise of Utah.

James Wymore

He spent a couple years in Korea contemplating the balance of opposing forces. After learning chaos theory in college he found the ideal environment to continue his studies of the uncontrollable, and became a teacher. He earned a Master’s degree before departing from the academic path to seek the greater freedoms of fiction. Still fascinated by the borders of randomness, he now spends his free time playing and creating games with his friends and children.

Although he patiently awaits the Tallest Writer in History award, James Wymore has won several awards for his short stories.

His early books, rumored to have been written as young as sixteen, are forever locked away. Now a published author, he has realized one of his childhood dreams.

In his dwindling free time, he draws a line of death themed comics called Parting Shots. You can see them along with games he makes and his disorderly blog at http://jameswymore.wordpress.com

Social Links: Homepage | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads | Amazon

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Aiden James :  I began writing stories roughly fourteen years ago, after pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter in Denver and later in Nashville.

My writing career could’ve been a brief one, as it started one night when it was my turn to read a bedtime story to my two young sons. Rather than read the ‘Mouse birthday book’ for the umpteenth time, I began a ramble about a mystical world parallel to our own, a world where sinister creatures sought to take a little boy into their hidden lair… forever.

my-picture-for-CQ

My first critical reviews from my young audience were mixed. My youngest child, Tyler, was enthralled about the magical place I created, and eagerly awaited more. However, my oldest, Christopher, thought it was the dumbest tale he had ever heard! Luckily, my wife, Fiona, listened nearby. She thought the idea had potential, although she kept that fact a secret until the following spring, 1997. When she suggested I create a fuller blown version of this story, it marked the beginning of my love affair with writing stories.

I wish I could tell you that the experience has always been a glorious progression, where crafting characters, incredible landscapes with captivating plots, and surprising twists was easy. Far from it. It took nearly three years for me to complete my first novel–based on the bedtime story to my boys who by then were young teenagers—and another two years to decide if I liked it enough to show it to anyone else.

Since then, I have written nine more novels, and presently have five established book series out there, with a brand new sixth series set to start in the fall with Curiosity Quills Press. The first installment of this new series is entitled “The Serendipitous Curse of Solomon Brandt”, and will be a serialized project before it is released as a full book in early 2013. After this series, which explores the true nature of good and evil, who knows what will be on the menu next? Something dark and creepy… Or, perhaps something light and fun?

Definitely, I intend for it to be something well worth your time to check out—Just wait n’ see!

Social Links: Homepage | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aiden James

 

 

I began writing stories roughly fourteen years ago, after pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter in Denver and later in Nashville. My writing career could’ve been a brief one, as it started one night when it was my turn to read a bedtime story to my two young sons. Rather than read the ‘Mouse birthday book’ for the umpteenth time, I began a ramble about a mystical world parallel to our own, a world where sinister creatures sought to take a little boy into their hidden lair… forever.

 

My first critical reviews from my young audience were mixed. My youngest child, Tyler, was enthralled about the magical place I created, and eagerly awaited more. However, my oldest, Christopher, thought it was the dumbest tale he had ever heard! Luckily, my wife, Fiona, listened nearby. She thought the idea had potential, although she kept that fact a secret until the following spring, 1997. When she suggested I create a fuller blown version of this story, it marked the beginning of my love affair with writing stories.

 

I wish I could tell you that the experience has always been a glorious progression, where crafting characters, incredible landscapes with captivating plots, and surprising twists was easy. Far from it. It took nearly three years for me to complete my first novel–based on the bedtime story to my boys who by then were young teenagers—and another two years to decide if I liked it enough to show it to anyone else.

 

Since then, I have written nine more novels, and presently have five established book series out there, with a brand new sixth series set to start in the fall with Curiosity Quills Press. The first installment of this new series is entitled “The Serendipitous Curse of Solomon Brandt”, and will be a serialized project before it is released as a full book in early 2013. After this series, which explores the true nature of good and evil, who knows what will be on the menu next? Something dark and creepy… Or, perhaps something light and fun?

 

Definitely, I intend for it to be something well worth your time to check out—Just wait n’ see!

 

Social Links: Homepage | Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus | Goodreads | Amazon

The Ivory Staff’s author is revealed

 M.Lachi

Questions for Authors:

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Whether in my music or in my writing, I like to center around the topic of perseverance and overcoming odds despite extreme obstacles.  As a legally blind artsy fartsy, every rung on the ladder of life has been great, but it’s definitely been a struggle, hence, my affinity for sharing stories of grit.  While writing the novel, I spent several months in Europe and visited Africa a couple of times. These trips helped set the feudalistic Arab-African scene setting of the tale mixed in with some culture and folklore.  The topic of the struggling class standing up to the regal class is an ageless one; however, in The Ivory Staff, it is tackled in the fashion of an engaging whimseyed fairy-tale.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Sometimes I do write down topics, so yes, I do have a virtual scratch pad of notes. Nonetheless, more often than not some stories (especially short stories) just come to you and flow out in the moment.

  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

Being that this book is based on an age-old maxim set in Fantasy, the research I conducted revolved around Feudal culture and African culture and folklore. Most of that research was conducted during my stay in both places as I wrote.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

 In this next book I’m writing, I have been approaching authority figures and experts in fields I love but know little about. I’ve learned that dependant on who and how you approach and ask, experts are highly inclined to share their generally knowledge for the sake of a good novel or non-fiction.

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

 I spent a year trying to find a literary agent to no avail. I then went directly to traditional publishers and was picked up after a couple of months.

  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

No.  Many of the trade publishers I’d spoken with preferred that I hadn’t.

  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I believe that Hybrid publishing may be a good solution for a serial novelist if they’re having trouble landing an agent or publisher. It encompasses the best of both worlds, does not have the self-published stigma, yet also allows the writer a healthy amount of control.

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Currently I don’t only write novels, but also song write, compose, score and design.  I’d love to make /rake in a higher income with my writing; however, even if I did, I don’t believe I would stop composing and song writing.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

A couple purchased a book and told me to sign the book to both of them.  Later during the event, I found they’d just met at the event!
M.Lachi

m@mlachi.com

www.mlachi.com
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President – Federal Toastmasters Speech & Leadership Club
The Ivory Staff – Novel by M. Lachi

Check out the awesome Trailer! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpGjWE6D8M0)