Monday, August 3, 2015

Book "A Rite of Swords" by Morgan Rice

About the Book: In A RITE OF SWORDS (Book #7 in the Sorcerer's Ring), Thor grapples with his legacy, battling to come to terms with who his father is, whether to reveal his secret, and what action he must take. Back home in the Ring, with Mycoples by his side and the Destiny Sword in hand, Thor is determined to wreak vengeance on Andronicus’ army and liberate his homeland—and to finally propose to Gwendolyn. But he comes to learn that there are forces even greater than he that might just stand in his way.
Gwendolyn returns and strives to become the ruler she is destined to be, using her wisdom to unite the disparate forces and drive out Andronicus for good. Reunited with Thor and her brothers, she is grateful for a lull in the violence, and for the chance to celebrate their freedom. But things change quickly—too quickly—and before she knows it, her life is thrown upside down again. Her elder sister, Luanda, caught in a fierce rivalry with her, is determined to wrest power, while King MacGil’s brother arrives with his own army to gain control of the throne. With spies and assassins on all sides, Gwendolyn, embattled, learns that being queen is not as safe as she thought.
Reece’s love with Selese finally has a chance to flourish, yet at the same time, his old love appears, and he finds himself torn. But idle times are soon overcome by battle, and Reece, Elden, O’Connor, Conven, Kendrick, Erec and even Godfrey must face and overcome adversity together if they are to survive. Their battles take them to all corners of the Ring, as it becomes a race against time to oust Andronicus and save themselves from complete destruction. As powerful, unexpected forces battle for control of the Ring, Gwen realizes she must do whatever it takes to find Argon and bring him back.
In a final, shocking twist, Thor learns that while his powers are supreme, he also has a hidden weakness—one that may just bring his final downfall.
Will Thor and the others liberate the Ring and defeat Andronicus? Will Gwendolyn become the queen they all need her to be? What will become of the Destiny Sword, of Erec, Kendrick, Reece and Godfrey? And what is the secret that Alistair is hiding?
With its sophisticated world-building and characterization, A RITE OF SWORDS is an epic tale of friends and lovers, of rivals and suitors, of knights and dragons, of intrigues and political machinations, of coming of age, of broken hearts, of deception, ambition and betrayal. It is a tale of honor and courage, of fate and destiny, of sorcery. It is a fantasy that brings us into a world we will never forget, and which will appeal to all ages and genders.

About the Author: Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER'S RING, comprising 17 books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising 11 books (and counting); of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising two books (and counting); and of the new epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising 3 books (and counting). Morgan's books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.
Book #3 in Morgan's new epic fantasy series, THE WEIGHT OF HONOR (KINGS AND SORCERERS--BOOK 3) is now published!
TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals), ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy), and A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer's Ring) are each available as a free download on Amazon.
Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch! As always, if any of you are suffering from any hardship, email me at morgan@morganricebooks.com and I will be happy to send you a free book!

My Review: In this episode Morgan continue her superb story. After the revelation about who Thor's father is, this episode starts with some prospects of things settling down, when a major betrayal set things on fire again. And there is not an idle moment until you turn the last page!
Get ready for another very entertaining episode of this incredible saga. You will not get tired of following Thor, Gwendolyn and all our heroes in this new episode. Just be aware that in order to savor every moment of this episode, I recommend that you start reading from the first episode to better understand the dynamics among the characters, as well as have a full idea on the environment of the story. 

 If you read my review, feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Book "Metzengerstein" by Edgar Allan Poe

About the Book: "Metzengerstein", also called "Metzengerstein: A Tale in Imitation of the German", was the first short story by American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe to see print. It was first published in the pages of Philadelphia's Saturday Courier magazine, in 1832. Part of a Latin hexameter by Martin Luther serves as the story's epigraph: Pestis eram vivus—moriens tua mors ero ("Living I have been your plague, dying I shall be your death").
"Metzengerstein" follows many conventions of Gothic fiction and, to some, exaggerates those conventions. Consequently, critics and scholars debate if Poe intended the story to be taken seriously or considered a satire of Gothic stories. Regardless, many elements introduced in "Metzengerstein" would become common in Poe's future writing, including the gloomy castle and the power of evil. Because the story follows an orphan raised in an aristocratic household, some critics suggest an autobiographical connection with its author.
The story was submitted as Poe's entry to a writing contest at the Saturday Courier. Though it did not win, the newspaper published it in January 1832. It was re-published with Poe's permission only twice during his lifetime; its subtitle was dropped for its final publication. Poe intended to include it in his collection Tales of the Folio Club or another called Phantasy Pieces, though neither collection was ever produced.

About the Author: Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe - January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
Born in Boston, Poe was the second child of two actors. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia. Although they never formally adopted him, Poe was with them well into young adulthood. Tension developed later as John Allan and Edgar repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, and the cost of secondary education for the young man. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time his publishing career began, albeit humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement. Later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point and declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, Poe parted ways with John Allan.
Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, "The Raven", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. For years, he had been planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.
Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

My Review: The story, told from an unnamed third-person narrator, takes place in Hungary at an unspecified date. The opening passages describe a centuries-long rivalry between two wealthy families: the Metzengersteins and the Berlifitzings. The bitter enmity between the two families is so old that no one knows how far back it dates. The narrator states that its origin appears to rely on an "ancient" prophecy: "A lofty name shall have a fearful fall when, as the rider over his horse, the mortality of Metzengerstein shall triumph over the immortality of Berlifitzing."
Young Frederick, Baron of Metzengerstein, was orphaned at a young age and, thus, inherited the family fortune at age 18 (though the age changes throughout its many re-publications[1]). Equipped with enormous wealth and power, he begins to exhibit particularly cruel behavior. "The behavior of the heir out-heroded Herod".[2] Four days after he receives his inheritance, the stables of the rival family Berlifitzing catch fire. The neighborhood "instantaneously" attributed the act of arson to Frederick Metzengerstein (the story, however, does not say expressly if he did it or not).
That day, Metzengerstein, in his home, sits staring intently at an old tapestry depicting "an enormous, and unnaturally colored horse" that belonged to the Berlifitzing clan. Just behind the horse, Frederick sees its rider who has just been killed by "the dagger of a Metzengerstein". Soon, Frederick sees the horse move and assume "an energetic and human expression". Immediately, Frederick opens the door to leave, and the action strikingly causes his shadow to fall exactly on the spot of the murderer in the tapestry.
Outside, he sees his men handling a horse that is "the counterpart" of the horse in the tapestry. The men tell Frederick that this new, remarkable "fiery-colored" horse has been found in his stables with the letters "W.V.B." branded on its forehead. The equerry says, "I supposed them, of course, to be the initials of William Von Berlifitzing, but all at the castle are positive in denying any knowledge of the horse." Frederick takes ownership of the horse. In the next moment, a page appears and tells Frederick that "a small portion of the tapestry" is missing (presumably the part containing the image of the horse). Frederick also hears, some time later, that old Wilhelm Berlifitzing died in the fire as he tried to save one of his horses in the burning stable.
Thenceforth, Frederick and the "ferocious and demonlike" horse, which no one else but Frederick has dared to touch since its arrival, become seemingly inseparable. Day after day, Metzengerstein rides the animal as if addicted, and he becomes less and less interested in the affairs of his house and of society. He eventually begins to live in seclusion to the extent that others in the neighborhood suspect that he is either mad, sick, or overwhelmingly conceited.
"One tempestuous night", Frederick awakes and maniacally mounts the horse to ride into the forest. Some hours later, the Metzengerstein castle catches fire. A crowd gathers to watch the peculiarly "ungovernable" flames and, soon, see the horse, now carrying "an unbonneted and disordered rider" who clearly has no control over the animal. The sight makes everyone present utter the word "horrible". The animal leaps into the flames with its rider and "disappeared amid the whirlwind of chaotic fire", thereby killing the last of the Metzengerstein clan. Immediately, the fire "died away". In the calm, the horrified onlookers observe a cloud of smoke settle above the castle in the shape of "the distinct colossal figure of — a horse".

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Book "How to Train Your Knight" by Stella Marie Alden

About the Book: Year of our Lord, 1276.
In the hours just before dawn, blasphemous curses echo throughout the stone manor. A knife clatters to the floor, and a feisty young widow is bound, blindfolded, and led to the marriage altar. The king couldn’t possibly have sanctioned this farce of a marriage, could he? After all, she alone transformed a few mud huts and starving serfs into a flourishing town, never once hesitating to pay generous taxes to his royal kingdom. Abandon her beloved people to be ruled by her new husband, an ignorant Templar knight? Never! the Lady Ann vows.
A murderous witch for a wife? The Beast of Thornhill finds himself in the middle of either a cruel jest or an evil conspiracy. After returning from the Holy wars, he accepts bestowment of a small parcel of land in return for saving King Edward’s life. But the reward comes with a warning regarding the estate’s mistress. Despite his insatiable attraction to the black-haired beauty, he allows her time to warm to him while observing her strange, forward-thinking ways. But when all is on the line, will he stand by her through the inquisition or will they both hang for her secrets?

About the Author: Stella Marie Alden loves Zumba, yoga, watercolor painting, and fixing up her house.
Her mother said it's not nice to brag but her first book...
In 2014:
* Won the coveted 'The Molly' Contest
* Won the 'Show me the Spark', too!
* Came in second for RWA's 'Heart2Heart' contest
* Third place in the 'Melody of Love' Contest
* Finalist in 'Joyce Henderson' contest.
* Finalist in 2013's 'Golden Acorn' contest
Growing up in Vermont, she loved to make up stories. Crayons fought each other over size and placement in their cardboard box and imaginary friends crowded the house. Her brother often complained. "Tell her no one's here, Mother.".
Her career paths have varied. She's been a librarian, a classical clarinetist, recording studio engineer, broadcast electronics repairman, and now she architects software programs. She lives in Bergen County, NJ with her life-long hero and their two cats. Her two girls are grown but ever supportive. You go Mom!

My Review: The author did a superb job creating a very enjoyable and strong heroine (Lady Ann) and hero (Marcus). The relationship between the two send sparkles all over at every turn of pages in this delicious book. All characters are very well constructed and the medieval environment is described in rich details. We feel ourselves in the middle of the story, cheering for our heroine and hero. This is a story of love, betrayals, misunderstandings, lust, insecurity, basically all the good ingredients that will keep the reader entertained for hours.
I recommend this book to all readers who enjoy a very well written romance. They will not be disappointed.
I received this book from the author. I was not requested to post a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

If you read my review, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Balance of July 2015

During the month of July, 2015, I reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Glassford Girl - Book 3" by Jay J.Falconer. Read my review.
- "Ghost in the Flames" by Jonathan Moeller. Read my review.
- "The One" by Kiera Cass. Read my review.
- "False Pretenses" by Scott R.Kramer. Read my review.

Guest Author:
- Scott R. Kramer - "False Pretenses"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book "False Pretenses" by Scott R.Kramer

About the Book: A stolen election. Domestic terrorism. Extortion. Once in power, and consumed by greed, Pete Reeves will stop at nothing to have more of both. It's a non-stop race around the world to prevent the President from going to war to further his own ambitions. Politics takes one unexpected turn after another in "False Pretenses," the new political thriller by Scott Kramer.

Purchase False Pretenses at Amazon

About the Author: Scott Kramer is a former investment advisor and now runs a manufacturing company. He grew up in New Jersey and has a Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree, both in finance. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children. False Pretenses is his debut political thriller novel.

Follow Scott on twitter: @scottrkramer

My Review: This is what I would call a very intense book. The author did a superb job of creating a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the turn of the last page. All conspiracy theories you have heard on stolen presidential's election and much more is adapted to this novel, making you think a lot on what is possible in the real world and what is fantasy (if any).
Basically you can find a perfect analogy in the real world to all topics brilliantly covered in the book. Stolen election, misleading information of threatening forces against USA in order to force a war, domestic terrorism, bribes and corruption are treated in this book with such a mastery that it is hard to believe this is just the debut novel of this author. The author is a natural storyteller and his style is very smooth. The plot flows in a fast pace and there is no idle moment in the whole story. His characters are real, credible, and fully developed, and you feel like cheering for the right thing to prevail. This book will keep you entertained for hours. It took me around 10 hours to read the whole book.

This is really a masterpiece. I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who appreciate a very well written political thriller. Hopefully it will attract attention to some Hollywood producer and we might have a movie based on this story.
I cannot stress enough how much I liked this book and how much I am hoping this author continue to produce other novels at this level.  Kudos to the author in his debut novel.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!