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Review: Path of the Horseman by Amy Braun

25212843“Poor Humanity, crazed with fear, was fleeing in all directions on hearing the thundering pace of the Plague, War, Hunger and Death.” ― Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

“Amazing inventions, colossal failures, and countless wars. We watched it behind the scenes. Watched the monkeys from beyond the glass. We were intrigued, Hell was amused, and Heaven was losing patience.
Finally, the monkeys threw too much shit on the windows. They sparked a third World War, one that the Big Boss upstairs knew would obliterate the world.
So he sent us instead. We were much more effective. We were much more eager.” –
Avery, The Rider Pestilence

It’s all great fun, clearing the world’s population for the “Next Coming”. But when the Coming doesn’t Come, what are the Four Horsemen to do with the rest of their human-ish lives? Stuck in the hell of their own creation, life decays to warding off the Plagued, those left over from Avery’s clever little specialty, and the Soulless, those left after trading their souls to the devil to live (and how is that working out for you?) This whole “life as a nearly-full-human is a pain in the proverbial backside. Especially when Simon’s specialty dried up all the water and poisoned all the food. Sucks when you got stuck the aforementioned human-ish body when you were dropped onto an unsuspecting world to do your worst. And then there are the demons.

After killing every human on the planet– or so we thought– our job became kill the demons and the Soulless. The Second Coming didn’t belong to those power-hungry freeloaders.

They showed up out of the blue within the first week, right around the time Simon started starving people. They had probably showed up earlier, but I didn’t think they would be an issue. It wasn’t like we had to worry about Lucifer or Azazel or Abbadon. From what the Bosses Upstairs told us, Hell’s Biggest Badasses were constantly at war.

OK, so that whole “The Second Coming apparently isn’t coming” thing is a total downer. As Avery puts it, “Simon will probably die of starvation, Kade will burn himself out, and Logan will be the last man on earth before he commits suicide.” Kade, the specialist in all things warrior, so he amuses himself with killing off the leftovers for fun. Logan? Well, he really didn’t do all that much. Just carried out his orders. But he really, truly, hated his job. Logan’s job, you see, required the personal touch – not simply throwing out plagues and rotting food. He saw them all. Touched them all. Unlike his brothers, who got a huge kick out of playing with their toys, killing from a distance. Well, until it was over, and there was no flourish of trumpets, white carriages from the sky and blessed lights.

Well. That sucked.

What didn’t suck? There were actual living, breathing people still alive on earth. Not many, and mostly starving, but they were there. And Avery would be damned (har har) if he allowed the demons to take their souls. That whole ‘guilt’ thing is hard on the soul – especially if you are the one responsible for the death of a whole world. Of course, it could have been the little boy eating his parents alive that really twisted the knife. So, when seven people in a beat-up old school bus appear one day, survivors of the Tribulations, Avery is thrilled. If the assholes Upstairs couldn’t be bothered with a Second Coming, maybe the Horsemen might pick up the slack?

“Running like this makes me feel like an animal. We’re stuck in a world of monsters we can barely fight, and can only kill if we’re extremely lucky. If we don’t stop and find a place to restart and remember what we are, then we’re no better than the creatures trying to eat us.”

Path of the Horseman is a truly amazing book. This is, and yet isn’t, a dystopian book. It is more than that. It brings up questions of redemption and hope, of horrors and fresh beginnings. Of what it is like to know that you are the last few on the face of the earth, and only those who destroyed the world may be able to save you. It is a thoughtful book – it took me quite a while to read it, as I kept putting it down and actually taking time to think about what I had read. It wasn’t a book, like so many, that I devour in one gulp. Instead, I truly considered everything – not only about the book itself, but what it meant to me, as a human. It was marvelous.

I received Path of the Horseman from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. I highly encourage you to pick it up if you are in the market for a serious, thoughtful book filled with ideas that are incredibly pertinent to today.


Review: Hellborn by Dana Cameron

Hellbender front cover.pngMy reviews often start with pertinent quotes, and Seven Kinds of Hell was no different.

You see what we do to each other over the slightest differences in religion or politics? We beat each other up over baseball games. We’ll kill over the wrong-colored bandana. What would we do faced with the Fangborn? – Adam Nichols, Seven Kinds of Hell

This one quote, more than any other, describes the heart of Dana Cameron’s Fangborn Series. Of course, many Urban Fantasy series address the question of the introduction of hidden beings, whether they be were, vampire, ghoul, or all the other “other” beings of the mythological pantheons. Ms. Cameron addresses the issue in her series – but more than that, especially in this third edition, Hellbender, she goes beyond simply the ‘introduction’ of the mythological to the Normals, but also the whole concept of how reality is designed.

“You’d said you’d been studying . . . the physics of Fangborn abilities?”

“Yeah. Bit o’ this, bit o’ that. Whether how the Change transformation the vampires and werewolves can do is a quantum entanglement of some kind . . . Spooky action at a distance, you know?”

Blood and agony. Fear and death. Zoe never asked for, never wanted, to be a monster, a savior, a weapon beyond comprehension. But she is – and as IDay – Identification Day, the day the Fangborn “come out” comes closer and closer, as those who wish the Fangborn nothing but death gather their forces, danger now comes from an even more deadly direction, as The Makers join the fray. The Makers – beings so advanced they stretch the boundaries of times and space. Did they really create the Fangborn? And for what purpose? To protect the humans, as the Fangborn have always believed and worked towards? Or to destroy them?

Hellborn is, literally, amazing. The story has developed over the last two books with intelligence, exceptional writing, and creative character and world development to match any UF out there today. Yes, even my beloved Kate Daniels series.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, and this series is well worth your time! Is Hellbender the last in the series? Well, I looked on Dana’s site and didn’t see anything, and it did wrap in such a way that it could be the last – but I certainly hope it isn’t!!

Seven Kinds of Hell http://bit.ly/1DqyMbC

Pack of Strays http://bit.ly/1FqSQdw

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

The Ascension Series S M Reine – Sacrificed in Shadow

sacrificed in shadow
Don’t be dumb like me and start here. 😦
Start with The Descent Series – Link below!

I finally figured out what was bothering be about Sacrificed in Shadow. As the first book of The Ascension Series, I thought I was getting in on the first of the series. See, I should have looked before I leaped – as The Descent Series is the actual first of the series. Now, I have to go back and read that series before I come back to this one.

It makes sense now that I was lost throughout the book, though I suppose, stepping back, it was actually quite readable without starting at the very first. It was just that niggling feeling that I was somehow lost in the translation, like I should have known more about the characters, should have had a better feel for the interactions between Elise and the kopis, and Elise and the priest, Father Night. And, of course, the world building seemed off to me, not clarified enough. But, I was so into actually enjoying the book itself, and the unusual world it showed, I didn’t let it bother me too much. I loved Elise and how different she is as a character, how well developed she is. And the world itself and it’s mythology? I thought I would just learn more about it as time goes along. And, I have no doubt that, as with many series, if I just read Ascension, I would be fine and happy with the whole thing. It is very interesting, without a doubt.

descent series
Start here – and the FIRST THREE BOOKS ARE FREE RIGHT NOW!

However, I am stopping and going to the first book of the Descent Series, Death’s Hand and starting over from there. If I am enjoying the story this much without the back-story, how much will I enjoy it with the back-story intact? This is some seriously good storytelling, and it will be well worth going back and starting over. In fact, I am totally excited by the thought! Besides, right now you can get the first three books of the Descent Series, Death’s Hand, The Darkest Gate, and Dark Union FREE at Amazon as a set: http://tinyurl.com/kkske4a so there is no reason not to start there, right?

As I said, Sacrificed in Shadow was quite good on it’s own. Secrets, betrayal, hatred and love, all embroiled in a dark and sensual story of angels, demons, witches, and wolves. Ultimately, I was quite satisfied with my reading, but will be much more satisfied when I have the first series under by belt, so to say. Being that person who always goes back to read the first books in a series before reading the next to come out, I feel like a kid in a candy store, figuring out the series. Or, should I say a bibliophile at the end of the world, living out her life inside the New York Public Library, no worries, no interruptions, and all the books I could ever hope to read?

TWO Happy Dances!!

wicked
Click the cover to purchase!

The amazing Jillian Klein Der Lowe just shot me an e-mail letting me know that her book, Wicked, just hit the #3 spot in her genre on Amazon!!

applause
Icon courtesy of
http://unf.edu
Thank you!

Click the cover to grab the book from Amazon FOR FREE!!!! Then, of course, after you have read it, I am sure Jillian would love a review. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge!)  My review is here in case you want to refresh or haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.

Congratulations, Jillian!!

Now, for even MORE good news, we turn to another wonderful author, J. C. Mells, author of the Pierced series.

J. C. is happy to announce that her next book in the series, Pinked is nearing the end of editing, and will be out soon! Pinked continues the adventures of Pierce and Mia, a fascinating pair, with a story that is one of the most interesting I have read in recent memory.  Watch for the review here, and for publication at Amazon soon. Until then, you really MUST pick up your own copy of Pierced! Click on the book cover to order. My review is hereIt is only 99c right now, and J. C. is sure to be a wonderful addition to your ‘must-buy-as-soon-as-published’  author list!

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Escaped, volume 1.5 of the Pierced series! It is also only 99c for a short time at Amazon.

Congratulations, J. C.!

Shrieking and Jumping up and down! J. C. just sent along the cover for PINKED!!!

Drool worthy, huh?  Click on the cover to see the video trailer!PINKED BC3

J. C. just sent me the cover!
Click on it for the YouTube Video
for the upcoming book!
Squeeee!!!!
pierced
For now, Pierced is only 99c at Amazon.
Click cover to order!
escaped
Click to purchase from Amazon!
Only 99c for a short time.
You KNOW you won’t be able to live without it
after reading Pierced!

Review: Wicked by Jillian Kleine Der Löwe (A Seven Deadly Sins Novel, Book 1)

wicked
Click the cover to purchase the book.
Come on, Live a little! Do it!
You KNOW you want to!!!

When was there placed before your eyes the idea of most fervent love, the male and female embracing each other so closely that they could no more be torn asunder, but through unsearchable love became one?  – Arthur Edward Waite The Golden Tract

After a few weeks of tweaking and tightening with Jillian, as her proofreader and editor, Jillian proudly placed Wicked on Amazon.com for sale. She should be proud! This is a wonderful, wildly creative novel. Jillian has a very distinctive voice in this novel. Her turn of phrase is enhanced by a ‘wicked’ sense of humour as she carries you back through billions of years of creation – then turns creation on it’s head.

In Wicked angels and demons and creation (oh, my!) have been around since the Big Bang (yes, there really was one of those, you mean you really doubted it?). How boring is that, the same old same old, eon after eon? One must what one must, and if you are a Half-Angel, Half-Demon, Half-Elf and Half-Goddess (hum? Yes, yes, that is quarters, but then, you weren’t there when it happened, were you?) and have lived as long as Sev has (well, that isn’t really her name, but hey, if you, well, wouldn’t you get bored and want to change your name too?) and you are stuck on Earth for no reason you can remember, it sucks to be tasked by grandpa Yahweh to kill off your husband, Lucifer. Yes, that Lucifer. Hum? Didn’t know Lucifer was married? Oh, yea, baby! The love of the millenniums, don’t ya’ know.

What follows is by turns funny, sad, exciting and ultimately awe-inspiring. Angels and demons are, after all, just human in their own way, right? That whole ‘created by the same creator’ clause in the contract. With all the shortcomings, pain, longing and heartache any self-respecting celestial being should suffer. The metaphysical equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Sev suffers as she pines for her great love, Luc, while Luc himself suffers the slings and arrows of self-flagellation, longing for things that were and were not, and should never have come to pass, if it ever really did and it wasn’t just a figment of his imagination. Or Sev’s. Or maybe Yahweh’s.

Overall, this is a metaphysical romp of the ‘well, yes, that’s what was said, but realllllly’ sort that was both exciting and frustrating to edit. Well, what can I say? No contractions?! I guess being a celestial being trying to speak English without an accent is sort of irritating, huh?

If you have a wicked sense of humour, this is definitely the book for you. If you don’t have a wicked sense of humour? Grow one. You really don’t want to miss this tour-d-force of laughs, snide commentary, misunderstandings on a universal scale and moments of great and abiding love. Throw all your expectations out the window of the Enterprise NCC-1701A (Hey, I like originals) at warp eleven, settle in, and enjoy. You won’t regret it!

Highly recommended.

Review: Beneath The Veil – by William McNally

Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much, but that’s how life is.
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

 I never realized before there were so many ways to die. So many ways to kill people. Why are there so many deadly weapons?

Clapp rubbed his lip and looked down at her. “Listen, Miss Gilbert. I’ve come to figure that man is the only deadly weapon. Take a gun. It’s an absolutely harmless thing—even makes a good honest paperweight—until some man gets his hands around it. You can strip a gun down to its basic parts and it’s lost its power. You can reduce a man to his chemical elements, but you’ve always got the spirit of whatever you call it left. And that spirit will find some damned way to do evil.
Wade Miller, Deadly weapon

————

Beneath the Veil Cover
Click cover for the GoodReads page.

There are secrets. Secrets hidden between the darkness of the world and the darkness of the human soul Secrets wander amongst the lost, where only the dead are truly free. Secrets live within the darkness, sucking away the human soul, leaving a shell of nothing but horror.

Barry Ryan is learning about secrets. His personal secret, that he is dying of an inherited disease. The bigger secret, hidden under layers of history, that there is something strange, very strange, about his family and where he came from. An adopted child, Barry has done well in his life. A famous sculptor, Barry has friends, a career, and an adoptive family that loves him. But with only a familial match capable of giving him the marrow transplant he needs to survive, Barry must return to his roots, return to the shadows of the past – the shadows and secrets of a place called Auraria.

With his sister, and her boyfriend, Barry begins his trip to Auraria. And thus begins a trip to Hell. But a Hell of whose creation? Layers of lies and superstition and death fill the pages of “Beneath the Veil.” I was immediately drawn into the story, as reality becomes merely a memory. As truth and physics and geography twist and turn upon themselves, into a horror no longer dreamed, but lived.

The story itself was well written and convincingly frightening. The characters themselves are believable, though they could have been a bit better ‘fleshed out’ in my opinion, though some would say that doing so would cause the story to drag a bit. To each their own.  The author doesn’t lead you by the hand through the book, you must come to some of your own conclusions, and this is not a book tied up in a tidy little bow at the end. It is, however, extremely creative, and, for a horror novel, ended in a deeply thoughtful manner. Overall, I found there were some small missteps, but I am quite comfortable with my rating. If you are a lover of horror, mystery, or thrilling ghost stories, this is most certainly going to interest you.

Recommended.

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