In response to @Charli_Mills Flash Fiction Prompt: Man, it’s a hot one

July 1

In response to Charli’s Flash Fiction Prompt: “Man, it’s a hot one.”

Getting the shakes already, and it was only eleven. Stupid, stupid to do this walk on so little breakfast. She slicked back her sweated-soaked fringe and muttered, “Man, it’s a hot one.”

Forests should feel cool, and if this was cool it must’ve been blistering down the coast. She spied a red post, her brain sluggishly switched gears…

“Halfway…”

A new sound caught her ears.

“The stream!”

Giving in, she dropped her backpack, stripped off her shoes and socks, and jumped feet-first into the water. The rest of the track could wait… she’d just float here for a bit…

This is it! My official come back from hiatus! Now it’s the holidays… I’ve caught a cold 😦 but it’ll be nice to have another week and a bit off until I go to another school camp. Then back to prac.

Prac teaching was fun. I’m very sure this is what I want to do, I just wish I had more free time while doing it! I need to work out what I want to do for my blog if I’m going to be a teacher. I can’t keep doing four posts a week, and I definitely can’t read a book every week! I’m thinking of keeping with Flash Fictions and Poetry, because they’re fun and I find them not too time-consuming. Of course, whenever I’m on holiday I can catch up on reading, but otherwise, I’ll be fairly limited. It’ll be touch and go.

I’ll have to nosy around everyone’s blogs to see what you’ve all gotten up to this past month! I hope to find you all well.

From Marigold

Indie Book Review: South of Reality by A I Alexen

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Review:

I really like reading books and stories that have animals as the protagonists, and as Animal Farm showed us, ‘animals’ does not equal ‘for kids’. Having said that, South of Reality can easily be enjoyed by kids, but at the same time I found a lot of fun in it too.

The story is written at about upper middle/high-school level and up (enough to challenge the younger folk while ensuring the adults aren’t patronised). Set on a family farm, the animal dynamics are thrown when a charming tomcat arrives with nefarious purposes. The tale is woven in a pleasantly cosy fashion with a curious mystery to start and a heart-warming banding together of the animal kingdom to finish, and I love it when I realise the reference a book cover is making!

This is a great holiday read (and I conveniently read it over the Easter weekend!) that I can recommend to anyone wondering what our fuzzy friends get up to when we’re not looking…

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Amazon buy link.

Smashwords buy link.

South of Reality, by A I Alexen

Book Length: 145 pages

Animal Adventure (Young and Young-at-heart Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

A cat burglar, two upstanding dogs, & a malicious rooster join forces on a mission of mercy!

When guard dogs Arky and Peyson investigate a mysterious and shady new feline arrival, they could never have foreseen what lay ahead – midnight chases in the forest, employment among humans, deals with a malicious rooster, and much more, bringing them closer and closer to breaking the all-important animal code!

Book Review #HBTour Hopebreaker by @deanfwilson blog tour by @MasqTours

I reviewed Hopebreaker with Masquerade Book Tours. Visit the other blogs on the tour!

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Review:

Steampunk! I don’t read it nearly as often as I should, mostly because I found a couple of pretentious books that tainted my view of the genre. Not this one! Hopebreaker made me think of a ‘western-style’ steampunk (I think it’s the deserts), but it’s so much more than that – a great blend of otherworldly fantasy comes into this tale that I think will appeal to lovers of demons and more urban-fantasy types. This could be a great book to introduce the steampunk genre to my friends.

Our main character is a smuggler with a reluctant conscious, who gets thrown in gaol with the golden-boy of the resistance. The world-building is done very well, explained in drips and drabs to provide enough context for the current situation without getting bogged down. I didn’t quite get the relationship between Jacob and Tabera, but that’s okay because neither did Jacob. Maybe there could’ve been more development of the secondary characters, but I see this first book as ‘setting it up’ while telling a ripping good yarn.

In essence, Hopebreaker is fun. I really enjoyed the overarching plot of the resistance and the tank-fighting scenes. The action and chase scenes were well paced within the story and the pseudo-engineering made it that much more enjoyable. The world of Altadas fascinated me and I’m looking forward to finding out more about it.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Author Website.

Amazon buy link.

Hopebreaker, by Dean F. Wilson

The Great Iron War #1

Book Length: 220 pages

Steampunk Adventure (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive.

Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power.

When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.

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Visit the other blogs on the tour!

Indie Book Review: Rangers by Chloe Gardner

Review:

Being a long time Supernatural fan, as I read Rangers I immediately recognised the inspiration behind the story. This isn’t just a fanfic though – the lore and characters are their own, and I had a lot of fun reading the paranormal adventures the twins and their tag-along got up to.

I did find the writing a little clunky, but the imagination was there, and I’ll take imagination over fluid writing any day. Having said that, I felt I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to, but I was still able to enjoy the ride. So many monsters, so much magic, so much action! I am interested in seeing where the series goes…

Recommended for fans of Supernatural. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Author Site.

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Rangers, by Chloe Gardner

Sam and Sam #1

Book Length: 414 pages

Paranormal Adventure (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Sam and Jason have been at this a long time, and they’re some of the best out there. Gremlins, goblins, ghosts of all kind, vampires, even the yeti that time in Cleveland, they go where they’re needed and they kill what needs killed. It’s that simple. And it’s a pretty good life, really.

Then there’s the girl. Samantha. She’s feisty and difficult and she knows next to nothing about what they do, but she’s pretty handy with a hatchet and seems to just keep tagging along with them, city after city, witch after ghost after spirit, despite Jason’s best efforts to ditch her along the way. If he’d had any idea just how complicated she was about to make their lives, he probably would have left her in Georgia.

It’s too bad, really. Sam appears to be in love with her.

Indie Book Review: Millennium Crash by James Litherland

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Review:

I was really looking forward to reading this book but, unfortunately, I found it underwhelming.

The premise sounded good and it started out well, but the story quickly deteriorated into dull waiting and organisation sequences.  There were lots of visits to the bank, finding food, and just generally waiting around for something to happen. I was bored for much of this book, I think that boredom prevented me from connecting to characters.

I actually sort of liked Sam’s and Anya’s characters (even if I found them a bit one-track minded), but Page was just vapid and stupid. We follow these three characters around and Page’s story seemed to run through the same thing three times, with very little difference – her only plot drivers seemed to be shopping and getting into trouble. I found it was very repetitive.

I did like Anya’s authority, but she didn’t do much besides find her scattered work colleagues and then… she bought a house. There wasn’t much to her story, except for towards the end when things finally started happened to her, but by that time I was completely disinterested.

Sam’s story was the one I came closest to liking, but again it was bogged down by long periods of waiting and spying (which amounted to waiting around outside a building).

As I indicated before, the ending was a bit better, but I am honestly not interested in reading a sequel to this series. That’s just my opinion though, other people might like it. I’d recommend checking out the ‘look inside’ for those interested in buying it, and remember those first few scenes are probably the most action-packed of the book.

Like my review? Like it on Goodreads too!

Author Goodreads Page.

Amazon buy link.

Millennium Crash, by James Litherland

Watchbearers #1

Book Length: 326 pages

Time Travel Adventure (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

EVERYTHING goes wrong when the first research expedition from the future lands in New York City in the summer of 2000. Instead of arriving together, the time-travelers are separated and scattered across the ancient metropolis. Even worse, the professor in charge of the expedition is killed when he materializes in the middle of a busy street—and the device he carries to take them back home is destroyed in the accident. Their project in a shambles before they have even started, now they find themselves stranded in the past—and their troubles are only beginning.

After seeing her mentor die right before her eyes, Team Leader Anya attempts to salvage something from the disaster, starting with rounding up the rest of the travelers. She doesn’t know it yet, but even that much has already become an impossible task.

Research Assistant Samantha finds her own team leader just in time to witness one of her colleagues stab him to death. The only witness to the killing, she chases the culprit through the city—but the murderer has the perfect plan for escaping justice.

Dazed and disoriented in East Harlem, Team Leader Page is being mugged when graduate student Matt Walker runs to her rescue—but playing the white knight will plunge him into improbable peril and lead him into a trap from which there is no escape.

Book Review: The Mine by John A Heldt

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Review:

The Mine is a romp. A riot. A romantic adventure. One of those proper intriguing and fun reads. Going back so far in time to a country on the brink of war is scary for all sorts of reasons, but there is so much hope in this book too. You know how you enjoy something so much you start to overanalyse it a bit? Yeah, that happened to me with this book.

OVERANALYSIS: Joel Smith is a little bit too perfect at everything he puts his hand to. While I liked his reliability to always get the best out of his situation (save for a realistically rocky start), I did find it difficult to believe he had such an extensive knowledge of sports trivia. Having said that, I never liked sports myself and I’ve never been able to rattle off remembered numbers, but since I know people who can I suppose it’s not that impossible. Maybe I just didn’t find him that relatable? Likeable though, even when he was being a bit of a prick the heroine put him in his place (and who doesn’t love a good bit of banter?).

If you liked any of the Back to the Future movies, I reckon you’ll like this book. Recommended for people who like their times a-changing.

The Mine, by John A. Heldt

Northwest Passage #1

Book Length: 287 pages

Time Travel Romance/Adventure (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

Book Review: Labyrinth by Alex Archer

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Review:

I love this series. Sure, it is pulp fiction at its worst (or best) and Alex Archer isn’t even a real person – it’s a pseudonym for any number of authors trying their hand at this series.

The plot for this installment (and most others) is basically a bad James Bond movie with random doses of pseudo-science and magic. But it’s exactly my kind of thing. Globe-trotting, adventuring archaeologist basically just goes around ‘landing’ in more adventurous situations (like the Poirot effect – crime keeps finding the master detective, and so adventure keeps finding the master adventurer).

But Labyrinth doesn’t do any globe-trotting, instead opting for a more claustrophobic atmosphere. Then there are the eco-terrorists, something I can never take seriously for some reason. Actually there is a lot of silliness here, so if you’re not geared up to go along for the ride, you probably won’t enjoy it. I did though. Just turned my brain off and enjoyed reading Annja struggle to survive the increasingly personal challenges.

While it’s not necessary to read the Rogue Angel books in order, this one does reference past stories (namely, Footprints, Warrior Spirit, and Phantom Prospect). So I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one (though it is one of the more action-packed and brutal survival stories). But if you like your women ridiculously strong with a drive for justice behind her, this is the series for you. Just be warned, like bad James Bond movies, there are a silly number of dead innocents caught in the crossfire. It’s only a minor annoyance for me, and one that doesn’t detract from the fun tale.

All in all, Labyrinth was a great entry to the series, and reminded me just how many books of Annja Creed’s I haven’t got around to reading yet. I should get on that. Big thumbs up 🙂

Labyrinth by Alex Archer

Lara Croft with a Sword Rogue Angel #34

Book Length: 317 pages

Time to Read: About six hours (across two travel days).

Action/Adventure.

Adult Fiction.

According to the Blurb on the Back:

Each step, each test, each twist and turn leads closer to death.

A book dealer lies imprisoned in a Boston mansion, an IV tube dripping a lethal narcotic cocktail into his veins. In thirty-six hours, he’ll be dead. His final request is to receive a visit from one woman…

It wasn’t the most hospitable invitation she’d ever received. Archaeologist Annja Creed is being rushed to Massachusetts, abducted by a famous environmental terrorist – a zealot willing to kill anyone who gets in his way or the planet’s way. He has taken the book dealer hostage in order to steal a rare and very valuable treatise called the Tome of Prossos. Annja is the key to retrieving the ancient manuscript hidden somewhere deep within the mansion. But the book is well-protected. In order to find it, she must survive the rigors of an elaborate maze. She has only twelve hours to decipher the labyrinth’s sinister secret… a secret that could ensure she never emerges.

 

P.S. I’m sticking the review first since that’s always what I read first before looking at the blurb on other people’s blogs. I don’t know if everyone does that, but I figured I’d give it a go and see what happens.