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Monday, August 31, 2015

Balance of August 2015

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

Books:
- "How to Train Your Knight" by Stella Marie Alden. Read my review.
- "Metzengerstein" by Edgar Allan Poe. Read my review.
- "A Rite of Swords" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "The Duc de L'Omelette" by Edgar Allan Poe. Read my review.
- "Arena One" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "Drowned" by Gary A.Ballard. Read my review.
- "The High King's Embalmer" by S.Cooperstone. Read my review.
- "Gravity" by James M.Corkill. Read my review.
- "Dracengard - Book 3" by Christopher Vale. Read my review.
- "A Grant of Arms" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.

Interview:
- James M. Corkill, author of Alex Cave's series. Read the interview.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book "A Grant of Arms" by Morgan Rice

About the Book: In A GRANT OF ARMS (Book #8 in the Sorcerer's Ring), Thor is caught between titanic forces of good and evil, as Andronicus and Rafi use all of their dark sorcery to attempt to crush Thor’s identity and take control of his very soul. Under their spell, Thor will have to battle a greater fight than he has ever known, as he struggles to cast off his father and free himself from their chains. But it may already be too late.
Gwendolyn, with Alistair, Steffen and Aberthol, ventures deep into the Netherworld, on her quest to find Argon and free him from his magical trap. She sees him as the only hope to save Thor and to save the Ring, but the Netherworld is vast and treacherous, and even finding Argon may be a lost cause.
Reece leads the Legion members as they embark on a near-impossible quest to do what has never been done before: to descend into the depths of the Canyon and find and retrieve the lost Sword. As they descend, they enter another world, filled with monsters and exotic races—all of them bent on keeping the Sword for their own purposes.
Romulus, armed with his magical cloak, proceeds with his sinister plan to cross into the Ring and destroy the Shield; Kendrick, Erec, Bronson and Godfrey fight to free themselves from their betrayal; Tirus and Luanda learn what it means to be traitors and to serve Andronicus; Mycoples struggles to break free; and in a final, shocking twist, Alistair’s secret is finally revealed.
Will Thor return to himself? Will Gwendolyn find Argon? Will Reece find the Sword? Will Romulus succeed in his plan? Will Kendrick, Erec, Bronson and Godfrey succeed in the face of overwhelming odds? And will Mycoples return? Or will the Ring fall into complete and final destruction?
With its sophisticated world-building and characterization, A GRANT OF ARMS 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 him at morgan@morganricebooks.com and he will be happy to send you a free book!

My Review: In this episode Morgan continue her superb story. This episode starts with Thorgrin under control of black magic, fighting at the side of his father, against his friends from the ring. In the mean time, Gwendolyn is in a quest to rescue Argon, the only one with power enough to save Thorgrin and the Ring. Reece goes to the bottom of the canyon in order to try to retrieve the Sword of Destiny. Packed with action, this book will keep you entertained for hours. 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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book "Dracengard - Book 3" by Christopher Vale

About the Book: It has been over a thousand years since the last Realm War, when the forces of light banished the demonic shedom back to the Realm of Darkness. Now a new evil threatens the Middle Realm as a self-proclaimed wizard and a mysterious black knight lead an army of humanoid lizards against the kingdoms of man.
As the Wizard consolidates his power throughout the eight kingdoms, Terrwyn and her companions find new allies in their fight against him. Our heroes finally reach Dracengard, but soon discover that the darkness that is engulfing the realm is even more sinister than they originally believed.

About the Author: Christopher Vale has lived in seven states and three countries. He has stared across a minefield in Guantanamo Bay, traversed steamy jungles in the South Pacific, and survived twin babies. Now he embarks on his newest adventure as he and his wife raise their three beautiful boys while developing their own self-publishing brand, creating fun, fast-paced novels of imagination and wonder.

My Review: This is a great sequel to the series. If you thought that the story could not get better, you were mistaken. In this book the author continues to bring us lots of adventures, monsters, betrayals, plots and counter-plots, sacrifices, all the good ingredients to make this book an instant success. It is a very pleasant reading that will keep you entertained for hours. The plot is interesting: In the first book we saw a wizard trying to reunite some magic stones that would give him power beyond anything imaginable. And there was also a dark knight helping him with an army of monsters. In the second book we see the development of this war for power and the characters in the book will have to chose sides. Help for our heroes will come from unexpected places and new alliances are made. This third book brings intense moments as our heroes reach Dracengard. Some aspects of the story are explained with flashbacks that goes back 1000 years in history. Reunions with lost characters happen. Loyalty and friendship most of the times is the key to survival. This is the third book of a series, so I recommend that you read the first two books prior of reading this one. You will not regret it. And I can hardly wait to read the fourth book in this series! I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that enjoy a well written book, young adults or not. You will enjoy it the same. Kudos to the author for producing such an enjoyable series. 

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


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Interview with James M. Corkill, author of Alex Cave's series

     


James M. Corkill, author of the Alex Cave Series, was kind enough to participate in this interview on "Books and Movies: Reviews" blog.

Thanks for the interview, James. Can we begin by having you tell us what got you started writing this series of books featuring Alex Cave?

Of course, and thank you for this opportunity. Although I did a little writing during my early years in high school, I never aspired to be an author until twenty-five years later while I was a Federal Firefighter. I was always reading in my spare time and thought some of the stories were awful. During the oil crises in the late 1980’s, a friend asked a general question; what would happen if suddenly we didn’t have any more fuel? I began writing down some of the issues that might arise if it actually happened, and it was the beginning of my first novel, Dead Energy.

Q. Is the Alex Cave character based on you or anybody that you know?

A. I suppose Alex and I are very similar.  I loved the adventure of being a Federal Firefighter for thirty-two years, and I was always exploring something new in my off time. When I began the series, I decided to send him on the kind of adventures that I could only enjoy in my imagination.

Q. Is there a lot of technical research behind the scenes for you to write believable passages or is this just your imagination at work?

A. I do have a vivid imagination, but I do extensive research for each story. Wikipedia and I are close friends, and I try to keep up with several science magazines. I enjoy the science and weather channels for ideas and current facts that would make an interesting and believable plot. Since I try to keep my stories based on fact as much as possible, I studied resonate frequencies of atomic structures for book 2, Cold Energy. For book 3, Red Energy, I studied Volcanism, (volcanoes, not the planet Vulcan from Star Trek). For this new story, Gravity, I did research on Astronaut Rusty Shchweickart’s B612 Foundation project, the Sentinel Asteroid Detection Satellite, as well as study the effects of the lunar orbit on the planet for the past 4.5 billion years.

Q. “Gravity” is the fourth book in the series. And it is getting better and better as it progresses. Can your readers be assured that there is many more to come?

A. Oh, Definitely! I always have new ideas rattling around in my head, and as you might have noticed throughout the series, I set the stage for the next adventure by mentioning an object that is only slightly related to the events in that particular story. My biggest challenge is coming up with a completely unique idea that has never been used by another writer.

Q. Do you feel yourself like the next George Lucas? I am asking that because I feel like Alex Cave is in a way similar to Indiana Jones, that although he is a professor, he lives a life full of adventures.

A. I suppose in a way my stories are similar, in that Alex is always involved in some kind of exciting situation, and has been compared to Indiana Jones. He has also been compared to Clive Cussler’s, Dirk Pitt, and Tom Clancy’s, Jack Ryan, only with a geophysics background.

Q. Is there any book that changed your life?

A. Yes, Clive Cussler’s, Night Probe. I decided that if I write a book, that’s the type of story I would want it to be, a lot of action to keep it exciting.

Q. If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and why?

A. That would be Alex’s best friend, Okana. That’s his last name, by the way, pronounced, O’Kaw-nuh, like O’Conner without the R’s. While growing up on one of the Islands in the Puget Sound, I was always a loner and never had a best friend, so I created Okana as the type of friend I would have wanted. He’s become my favorite sidekick, always jumping into the thick of things on impulse, whereas Alex would handle the situation in a much more reasonable way. Most of the time.

Q. Any final words?

A. Yes, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and all the people who have supported me with the series. It’s nice to know that my hard work has given someone the opportunity to escape from their own reality for a little while, and since people enjoy my stories so much, I’ll keep writing.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book "Gravity" by James M.Corkill

About the Book: Alex Cave receives an urgent message about an unusual geologic event in Iceland. When he arrives, he sees two video recordings. The first is of large globules of glowing magma rising from a glacier. The second video, taken in the exact same place several days later, shows a deep tunnel below the ice. He is asked to investigate the strange phenomenon, and what he discovers at the bottom is an alien device more powerful than a nuclear weapon. Before Alex can retrieve it, the device is stolen and activated, but it cannot be turned off. It begins dragging satellites from orbit and threatens to bring down the International Space Station. When it begins changing the orbit of the moon, Alex and his friends begin a desperate race to find the device and shut it down before the tidal effect rips the planet apart.

About the Author: James M. Corkill is a retired Federal Firefighter from the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island in Washington State, USA. While he lived on the island, he was fortunate to meet a famous horror writer named Hugh B. Cave, who became his mentor. James' first novel, The Alex Cave Series, book 1, Dead Energy, was republished in 2013. His second book in the series, Cold Energy, was published in 2014. His third book in the series, Red Energy, was published in 2014.
He is also a singer/songwriter, and has played guitar since he was fourteen. He now lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
You can contact James through his website.
http://jamescorkill.com/

My Review: This is another brilliantly written story, sequel of Dead Energy, Cold Energy and Red Energy. If you thought that the story of our hero, an ex-CIA agent named Alex Cave, could not get better, you were completely wrong. The author keeps raising the bar, as if it was possible at all.
In this episode, Alex Cave is invited into a meeting in Iceland where a very strange geological event is observed. Asked to investigate, he goes with his best friend Ocana. In their way they meet other explorers that are also trying to see what is causing the observed behavior. All indications lead to the conclusion of the existence of a device that when active can control gravity on objects placed directly above it. But the bad guys beet them and get the device first. While trying to retrieve the object that was activated and was causing major problems, Alex's new family is kidnapped and now, besides having to recover the device and save the world, he also needs to save his family.
As usual, we can see that a lot of research was done by the author in order to create a very intelligent and believable plot. 
You will read the book on the edge of your seat. Every turn of a page brings more excitement and it is guaranteed that you will be entertained for hours. It took me about eight hours to read the whole book. 
I can hardly wait to read more Alex Cave's adventures! You definitely should try James Corkill's books. His intelligent plots are here to stay. I just wonder when his stories will attract someone in Hollywood so we will be able to enjoy all those actions in a big screen!

 This book was written by James M.Corkill and I received an electronic version for reviewing. I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own. 

 If you read this review, feel free to leave a message.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Book "The High King's Embalmer" by S.Cooperstone

About the Book: The royal family’s shape-shifting embalmer is intent on finding those behind the assassination attempts of the family. To further complicate things, he is kidnapped by bounty hunters, escapes, but finds himself hunted by the king’s own men. Can he find the source behind the deaths before the heirs of the family are extinguished?

About the Author: S. Copperstone is an eclectic writer and has writings scattered all over the place. She enjoys historical fiction/some horror/paranormal/science fiction/and adventure.... everything from flash fiction to novels. She prefers male lead characters but has been known to write a few female leads. Some of the places where she can be found wandering around the net are here:
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/S-Copperstone/
• YouTube: http://youtu.be/0BwBi_Mgytc
• Wordpress: https://scopperstone.wordpress.com
• Tumblr: http://scopperstone-author.tumblr.com
• Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/29124715
•  Twitter: @SCopperstone
• Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shari0

My Review: This is quite an intriguing book. It tells the story of an alien creature that has the capability of changing shapes from his original form of a jackal like animal to any other format, including mimicking humans. When his race was exiled to a world where humans are the masters, his race is enslaved and abused. Our main character, Jibade, is from a Royal Family in his own world. In this new world, he finds himself working as an embalmer to the local Royal Family. He has been doing this service for generations of kings and due to his special abilities like reading the aura of humans, his service always goes beyond of just embalming the dead. As it is common inside any Royal Family, there is a lot of intrigues and assassination plots, and Jibade is loyal to his masters and tries to find out who is behind those plots. He is kidnapped and the adventure starts to pick up pace.
Overall this is a well written book that will keep the reader entertained for hours. The end of the book is a hook to the sequel that should follow, hopefully soon!

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

Friday, August 7, 2015

Book "Drowned" by Gary A. Ballard

About the Book: Forensic psychologist Dr. Jack Carter has had to question his sanity – a year’s worth of memory lost, his wife, Sarah, missing and himself the prime suspect. His most recent cases have led him to meet beings he could only classify as supernatural. Called to consult on a mother’s mental health after she confesses to drowning her five children, Jack finds there’s more to the death of these kids than a fanatically religious mother’s fractured grasp of reality. Every turn in the case leads him to face the truth – a powerful entity known only as The Sleeper is spreading a murderous corruption throughout the world. Can Jack survive its terrible pull and discover the truth about what happened to Sarah?

About the Author: At the age of eleven, Mr. Ballard began creating his own fictional worlds and inhabiting those worlds with eccentric characters. As an artist, graphic designer, musician and author, he has spent decades enumerating a unique evolving vision of an absurd universe. His first four novels comprise a cyberpunk series called The Bridge Chronicles starring the amoral fixer of future Los Angeles, Artemis Bridge. The Bridge Chronicles in turn is one slice of cohesive universe that began as a pen-and-paper roleplaying game. Gary has recently begun a new series of novellas based on the Cthulhu Mythos made famous by H.P. Lovecraft called The Stepping Stone Cycle.
Mr. Ballard currently lives with my his wife and three dogs in Mississippi, where he continues to write, blog, compose music and play video games.

My Review: This is the third episode of the Stepping Stone Series. In the first episode we learnt that Dr. Jack Carter was in catatonic state for over a year when he recovers conscience just to find out that he is the primary suspect in his wife disappearance. As there is no body he is not charged with the murder, so he resume his work as a forensic psychologist and continues investigating the disappearance of his wife. In the second episode, a double murder in a small town in Mississippi brings him into contact with a young rock music writer from a band named Metal Black. His lyrics are very dark an in one lyric he describes the death of a woman named Sarah (Jack's wife name). Two young boy's were charged with the murder of two girls named Sarah and their mother sues the band blaming that their lyrics influenced the boys to commit the crimes. When Jack starts to investigate the case, he came across some quite strange situation that changes his view on the power of the stepping stones. The third episode brings to Jack a case of a mother that drowned her five kids, claiming they were no humans. Her descriptions of entities matches what Jack had previously encounter in his past cases. When Jack goes investigating this case, what he finds behind the preachers of a pastor goes quickly wild and the end of the story is very intense and unexpected.
This is a very interesting sequence to the original story, very well written and entertaining, that will keep the reader hooked until the turn of the last page. I really want to read more episodes from this series. Kudos to the author for producing such an entertaining series!
I recommend this book to any reader who loves mystery books. They will not be disappointed. I suggest that they read the books in the order they were released, first the "First Stone", then the "Metal Black" and finally this one, "Drowned".

I received a copy from the author for reviewing and I was not requested to write a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book "Arena One" by Morgan Rice

About the Book:New York. 2120. American has been decimated, wiped out from the second Civil War. In this post-apocalyptic world, survivors are far and few between. And most of those who do survive are members of the violent gangs, predators who live in the big cities. They patrol the countryside looking for slaves, for fresh victims to bring back into the city for their favorite death sport: Arena One. The death stadium where opponents are made to fight to the death, in the most barbaric of ways. There is only one rule to the arena: no one survives. Ever.
Deep in the wilderness, high up in the Catskill Mountains, 17 year old Brooke Moore manages to survive, hiding out with her younger sister, Bree. They are careful to avoid the gangs of slaverunners who patrol the countryside. But one day, Brooke is not as careful as she can be, and Bree is captured. The slaverunners take her away, heading to the city, and to what will be a certain death.
Brooke, a Marine’s daughter, was raised to be tough, to never back down from a fight. When her sister is taken, Brooke mobilizes, uses everything at her disposal to chase down the slaverunners and get her sister back. Along the way she runs into Ben, 17, another survivor like her, whose brother was taken. Together, they team up on their rescue mission.
What follows is a post-apocalyptic, action-packed thriller, as the two of them pursue the slaverunners on the most dangerous ride of their lives, following them deep into the heart of New York. Along the way, if they are to survive, they will have to make some of the hardest choices and sacrifices of their lives, encountering obstacles neither of them had expected—including their unexpected feelings for each other. Will they rescue their siblings? Will they make it back? And will they, themselves, have to fight in the arena?

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 the author at morgan@morganricebooks.com and the author will be happy to send you a free book!

My Review: This is a very interesting action-packed book that starts slowly and goes on a crescendo and suddenly there is not a single idle moment until you turn the last page. The book describes an America that was devastated by war and people fighting for survival. Two young ladies flee from New York City where they used to live with their parents. After the father left them to fight in the war, the mother lost herself and believed her husband would return. Knowing better, our heroine Brooke takes her sister and leaves NY just in time, when NY is falling in the hands of gangs. She starts her struggle to survive outside, in a hostile environment, where slaverunners seek people to fight to death in their arenas, just for entertainment of the remaining dominant population. When things looks like are turning for the best for our two ladies, while Brooke goes out to do some exploratory hiking, the slaverunners capture her young sister Bree and the story picks up its pace and from there on, it is a thriller on every turn of the page. Brooke meets Ben that also just lost his young brother to the slaverunners and both start an impossible rescue mission. When they need it most, help comes from a young man (Logan) and a love triangle is created.
The point of being a fiction book is that you believe in what you want. I enjoyed the book very much. The plot is interesting and even if winning all battles against all odds is not a realistic scenario, just cheer up for our heroine and let her success be contagious.
I recommend this book for all readers that have a strong heart and an imagination that can accommodate an invincible heroine. They will be entertained for hours!

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



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book: "The Duc de L'Omelette" by Edgar Allan Poe

About the Book: "The Duc de L'Omelette" is a humorous short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier on March 3, 1832, and was subsequently revised a number of times by the author.

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: In this short story, The Duc de L'Omelette dies while dining on an ortolan, and finds himself in hell: an apartment filled with various works of art that has a window overlooking a fiery landscape. Face to face with Satan, the Duc manages to avoid damnation by cheating him at cards.
It is considered to be a humorous story. I would not call this one his best short story by far. Just entertaining and fast reading. No more than fifteen minutes and you are done.
I recommend this story for readers that are really into Poe.

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



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 him at morgan@morganricebooks.com and he 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.