9.18.2018

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: Through the Lichgate (The Drama Club Presents)

Looking for something to read for Halloween? You won't go wrong with Through the Lichgate, the first installment in Kyle Adams's The Drama Club Presents series.

Thana Ayers, high school student and part-time graveyard caretaker, is trapped by her own talents. She is a necromancer, not by choice, but because she can animate and control dead bodies, both human and animal. She could do much more. She could enslave the souls of the dead to create liches, who would do her bidding. Instead, Thana users her talents to destroy the liches that attack her. Thana draws the line at enslaving souls.

When her older brother, who died in a tragic accident, turns up as a lich, Thana's world and her morals are turned upside down. Another necromancer forces her to make choices and compromises to save herself and her friends. The question is, how far will Thana cross her lines in the sand?

Through the Lichgate is an exciting and compelling YA paranormal and there's no romance. With the problems Thana is facing, she has no time to even think about a boyfriend. Adams has created a situation in which Thana must make hard choices between her principles, her family, and her friends. This story will leave you thinking about Thana's choices long after you've finished the book. My only problem with the story is the antagonist's motivation. It's a bit fuzzy as to why he's doing what he's doing. Another avenue into the antagonist's thoughts might have helped. Overall, Through the Lichgate is a fast-paced, compelling read with gut-wrenching choices for a likable protagonist.

The official blurb:
Thana Ayers may seem like any other girl her age, struggling to balance schoolwork, drama club activities, and her religious parents. But at night, she battles unholy monstrosities with her own astonishing abilities to control the dead. Thana’s never lost a battle. That is, until a mysterious creature appears unlike any she has faced before. 
This strange presence threatens to unravel Thana’s carefully balanced life and reveal her powers to the world. It also promises to show her the secrets of the lichgate and unlock her true power, but all power comes with a cost.
Dig it up on Amazon.

8.21.2018

Books Worth Reading: The Ares Weapon (Mars Ascendant Book 1)

Armageddon is Up for Auction



The Ares Weapon
Book 1 of the Mars Ascendant Series
by D. M. Pruden

Dr. Melanie Destin's life is a mess. In a desperate attempt to start over, she accepts an interplanetary salvage job that will pay her enough to rebuild a new life on Mars. When she learns the real purpose of the mission is to recover an apocalyptic virus, everything begins to unravel...

I really, really enjoyed this story. I read it every chance I had to find out what happened next. I was as in the dark as the main character as to the true nature of the mission. It slowly unraveled in a very delicious way.

The characters are sketchy, the mission and weapon are unique... everything about this story was interesting. I didn't know who to trust. Neither did the main character. She makes some heroic choices and some really bad choices, which made her more real. But I like characters with baggage and who have layers.

The Ares Weapon was part thriller, part mystery, part discovery and exploration. Very fun and entertaining.

I plan on reading more in this series. Available on Amazon. Oh, and it's free.


8.07.2018

Perspectives





How often does a sentence or a single paragraph in a book tilt your world when you read it? Shift your perspective with an emotional punch? Leave you with a lingering sense of awe?

That’s the power of words. The power of story.

Sometimes I even get the gut punch from a character that I wrote—which I find humorous, as well as astounding, as if my words don’t have the same meaning in life until my character speaks them out loud for me to ponder. I suppose that’s the power of my subconscious trying to communicate with me.

Whatever. I eventually get the message.

My life has been through many upheavals lately but something I wrote a few years ago has recently struck that perfect emotional chord. I’ll leave you with this quote from Zoey, one of Cerise Laudine’s (my other penname) characters in the Well of Souls series:

“When I woke up this morning I realized I wanted to live before I died, not die a little each day while waiting for the end.”

It’s a reminder to me not to just mark time, drifting through each day, but to experience each moment as it comes. Maybe it will help you too.

Happy reading!

7.24.2018

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: Jasper Flint and the Dinosaur Saddle


My love of dinosaur stories includes books as well as movies and TV shows. I always say, giant man-eating reptiles make any story better.

So, I picked up this book, Jasper Flint and the Dinosaur Saddle by Jack Geurts, excited but not expecting much. You know what? It was fantastic.

The story was surprising and filled with everything I love: dinosaurs, archaeology, aliens, and trips into ancient civilizations. What? I bet you're wondering how those things together make any sense. Well, they do, and in an awesome way. I couldn't wait to get back to reading this book every day. It was a pure delight.

It starts out at a dig where the dinosaur comes to life. What? Yes, and it was so fun. Then the story kept getting better from there, taking me places I didn't expect. This book gets 5 alien heads from me.




Here's the official blurb:

We thought we were the first civilisation to live on this planet…
We were wrong. 
65 million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. But that wasn’t the only thing it did… 
It also caused the people who were living here at the time to flee to a nearby planet. And there they have lived ever since. 
Until now… 
Sixteen-year-old Jasper Flint joins his paleontologist parents on a dig in Outback Australia and finds something there he never expected. Something no one ever expected.
Buried for 100 million years with the fossilised bones of a dinosaur… A saddle. 
The only relic of a super-ancient civilisation who lives on in secret to this day. And some of them don’t want their existence known… 
Soon, Jasper is thrust on a time-bending quest through history to follow an ancient map and save the world.
You can find the book HERE




7.10.2018

#Death #Life #Dignity #Happy #Sorrow #Miracle


On June 12, 2018, I lost my mother to a malignant disease. She was 85 years young. I feel greatly blessed that she survived another 20 years after the doctors had given her 3 to 6 moths to live in 1998 due to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It’s quite story, but long story short ~ we attribute her miracle to Father Baker and Our Lady of Victory for their intercession, and this miracle has gone to the Vatican. 

And my mom’s passing had me thinking…

We find great joy in a baby’s birth. Has anyone ever found happiness, relief in death?

Most of us have experienced death in one form or another. It’s earth shattering when a loved one is tragically taken from us. There aren’t any words of comfort for those who have gone before us in this way. Death rips out our hearts. 

On the other spectrum, my mother was recently in a nursing home for rehab. Walking down the halls, aged souls in the last throes of their lives sat in wheelchairs and laid in their beds. A myriad of feelings came over me. Pure sorrow and sadness. I give those nurses and aides great acclaim for their loving care, at least that’s what I experienced while in this facility. I have heard of atrocities occurring to the poor elderly, which is diabolical.  

However, I also experienced happiness there. People playing bingo, exercising in their wheelchairs, laughing, and talking. There is life and breath in their deteriorating bodies. A long, long life can be a blessing and a bane. 

I visited with my daughter’s and my 2-year-old granddaughter, Hazel. Baby Hazel brightened the eyes of everyone. Even the man who was across the hall from my mother, who normally just cringed when I waved to him, gave us a big smile and waved to little Hazel. One woman held out her arms, and Hazel dropped her tiny hand into hers. The woman said, “I love you.” And then took great effort to lean over and kiss Hazel’s hand. 

I’m positive each and every one of us has a story to tell about life and death. I pray for a life well lived and dignity in death.

I believe, death is a blessing for those viciously suffering from various diseases. My faith tells me, we are aliens living here on this planet, and in the end, we go to our real home. 

What are your thoughts?

6.19.2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi #bookreview

Visit here!
On my personal blog, I touched on the subject of diversity in the arts, a topic sparked by reading of how some publishers and writers work with sensitivity readers to help with addressing the flat sterotypes or missteps that can occur when artists are making an effort to do more in addressing the issue of diversity.

For today's post here at UR, I am super ecstatic to share about this ridiculously awesome book by Tomi Adeyemi.The publication of this book is #WeNeedDiversity in action. And, did I mention just how awesome this book is?

The cover does its job well. It's striking and commands attention. The stark contrasts in colors made it impossible for me to pass this one by when I visited my local B&N bookstore.

Then there's this to grab your attention:
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

I couldn't get this book to the counter fast enough so I could pay for it and start my binge-reading. By the way, B&N has a special edition hardcover with some nice extras you'll find intriguing.

Now, on to the story. I'll do my best to keep spoilers at bay.

The main character, Zelie Adebola, is a lot like most girls in their late teen years. She struggles to find her place in this world and really wants to be a help to her father and brother, except she's a child of a maji, marked by her vibrant white hair. She's also marked, deeply and to her core, by witnessing the horror of what happened to her maji mother, what happened to magic.

Needless to say, Zelie has a bit of a chip on her shoulder instead of being the broken, cast down thing the ruling monarchy of Orisha would prefer her to be. She's a fighter, and by the gods of this book, does she ever need that fighting spirit. Her path links her with an unexpected source of hope to bring magic back and the adventure is action-packed, filled with drama that kept me on my toes and some twists and turns that had me talking at the book.

Yeah, I know they can't hear me any more than the people on the TV or movie screen, but I just got to get it out lol!!!

Tomi's writing style immediately pulled me in from page one, a way of writing that made me feel like I was sitting down to a story telling session every time I opened the book to read.

This isn't a fantasy story of unicorns and rainbows. Nor is this a story where all that is dark is bad. Dark will always be tagged as something to fear. And Tomi doesn't mince words when it comes to utilizing this assumption about the dark. Yet she also made dark beautiful, something misunderstood, or misconstrued. I won't pretend to know what social issues Tomi wanted to address. I can't emphasize enought that this book is well worth the read because the magic is wonderful and consuming. The characters grow and evolve beautifully, and the plot is like a rollercoaster ride up to the very end.

Yeah, uh, I'm stoked for the next book.

Very stoked!!

6.12.2018

The Spectacular Cover Reveal of Elements of Untethered Realms


Enter our mysterious realms where the stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets. Enchanted forests are knotted with roots and vines. Dreaded paths take us through stranger, unexplored places.

Investigate new worlds and a house frequented by ghosts. Come across witches and wizards and an assassin tasked to kill Death.

Meet hot robots, hungry winds, and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien lands, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where the people bury the living with the dead.

Encounter paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Search shifting worlds trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where the president seeks to rid the world of Otherkind.

Experience a haunted ride on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the lady of the lake who lurks in dark waters.

From USA Today bestselling and popular science-fiction and fantasy authors comes Elements of Untethered Realms, a supernatural compilation of Twisted Earths, Mayhem in the Air, Ghosts of Fire, and Spirits in the Water. These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.

Coming October 2018.

Isn't it beautiful? We're so excited to share with you all our collections of short stories together in one magnificent book. We're even putting it into print.


While this is our last project with our Elements anthologies, we're working hard on a new and thrilling venture. We're brainstorming and ironing out the details, and I'm dancing in my chair with how exciting it is. There are great things coming from Untethered Realms.