Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Balance of January, 2017

During the month of January, 2017, I reviewed the following:

- "Hatching the Phoenix Egg" by Joel Horn. Read my review.
- "The Final Offering" by J.G.Gatewood. Read my review.
- "The Northeast Quarter" by S.M.Harris. Read my review.
- "A Chance Beginning:  by Christopher Patterson. Read my review.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Book "A Chance Beginning" by Christopher Patterson

About the Book: Erik Eleodum is a simple man. He doesn’t want to be a hero. He doesn’t need fame or fortune. He is content farming his family’s homestead in northern H├íthgolthane and raising a simple family, like his father, for the rest of his life. In fact, adventure is the last thing on his mind.
Befel, Erik’s brother, and Bryon, his cousin, can’t think of anything worse than farming for the rest of their lives. They want to be heroes. They want fame and fortune. They want to leave their families and go east, to the country of Golgolithul, where they are sure to find easy wealth and great adventure.
But when these three young men leave their farmstead, they quickly discover the world is not so simple, not so easy. Most fortune is laden with treachery, fame must be earned with blood, and adventures are rarely grand. Ideas of grandeur are crushed and the road east is hard. To get there, these men must ultimately sell their swords and become friends with thieves, dwarves, soldiers, and mercenaries well past their prime. They battle a band of ruthless slavers, slip past assassins, and experience the deadly consequences of black magic.
Will Erik ever be able to return to the simple life? Will he unwittingly become famous, become rich, become a hero? Or, will he even survive?
Often the deeds of those deemed smaller, either in stature or status, go uncounted by chroniclers of history. Yet, it is these deeds that repeatedly change the course of history. For every hero whose feats minstrels sing, there were fifty men following his stead, giving blood and sweat just as he did; and because they were not the first to return from a long voyage away, or perhaps they did not return at all, their glories are never sung. This is a story about those men who would only be known in the local legends, who would have been forgotten by time save for a small bit of chance. Chance, Fate, Destiny, Dumb Luck; all these and more, and then maybe none of these things, are the reasons a young man can go from a farmer’s son, a boy of lowly birth born with dirt on his face, to a great warrior, a kingly knight, a dragon slayer.
Three young farmers, tired of plowing endless fields from sunrise to sunset, gave up all they knew to pursue fame, pursue riches. Their crying mothers at their backs and the unknown ahead of them, they worked in pigsties, slept in the alleys of outskirt cities, traveled with strangers and shed blood unwillingly. They trusted men they should not have trusted, and did not trust those they should have. These young men who left their way of life for fame and glory would soon learn, as most young men full of grand ideas and just ideals do, the world is not what they thought it to be.

About the Author (directly from the author): I live in Tucson, Arizona with my wife Kellie. We currently have three kids. My wife is a wound care nurse, which means she likes looking at open wounds . . . I know, GROSS! I was a high school English teacher for seven years before I transitioned over to Government, Economics, and History. I am the head wrestling coach at Sahuaro High School in Tucson AZ and have been for twelve years. I am also a coach on the Sahuaro football staff. I fostered a love of the arts at an early age when I started playing the guitar at the age of seven. My mother encouraged me greatly in my musical endeavors, even getting me up at 5am to practice since I was also busy with church and sports. In fact, I spent my first year at the University of Arizona as a classical guitar performance major.
I have loved action and adventure as well as science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching the original Star Wars movies and Star Trek series. I read The Hobbit at a very early age, loved stories about mythology, and have always had a fascination with the European Middle Ages. As soon as I could, I played Dungeons and Dragons and started reading any Forgotten Realms or Dragon Lance book I could get my hands on. I also read Ursula K Le Guinn's Wizard of Earthsea series, C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
I started writing my own fantasy adventures on my grandma's typewriter. Each one she would title, "The Next Great American Novel" and I find myself extremely lucky and blessed that my family encouraged my creativity. It was in college, studying Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, that I started taking writing seriously and exploring a career as an author. After my first year in music, I found that that was not the path I wanted, but knew I wanted something involving the arts, and so I transitioned to Creative Writing. I actually started writing what would eventually become the Shadow's Fire Trilogy in college.
I am also active at Desert Hope, the church that my family attends. I am very actively involved in the high school ministries and the music ministries. Church and faith are a major part of my family's life and I have tried to implement that influence in my writing.
I am also sincere about fitness and health and I have been a competitive power lifter since high school. I workout as much as I can and try to pass that love on to my students and athletes.
You can follow my weekly blog by visiting my website: www.christopher-patterson.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter by copying and pasting this url into your search engine: http://eepurl.com/b5AUa1

My Review: What a book! The author did a superb job creating another Middle Earth's style world, full of different races and all kind of adventures on every turn of the pages. His description of scenes, battles and internal conflicts on our heroes is so real that we cheer for them since the beginning of the book until the last page and we finish the book begging for more.
Plot is simple to follow and flows in a nice pace. Two young guys (Befel and Bryon) are not happy with the perspective of being farmers for the rest of their lives. They decided to pursue adventure and fame in the East and Befel's brother (Erik), although happy being a farmer, decided to join his brother and cousin in this adventure. In order to travel East, they join a gypsy caravan and their adventure begins when they are attacked by slavers. From there on, you will read the book at the edge of your seat. Intense action will follow, with participation of dwarfs, mercenaries, thieves and all sort of creatures. 
We clearly see some influence of the "Lord of the Rings" (J.R.R.Tolkien) in the writing style of the author, and that only makes the story greater. This is a very well written book and I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that enjoy adventures and fantasy, You will not be disappointed.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book "The Northeast Quarter" by S.M.Harris

About the Book: Do you want revenge or do you want your land back?”
Winfield, Iowa. 1918. Colonel Wallace Carson, the ruler of a vast agricultural empire, asks Ann Hardy, his ten year old granddaughter and eventual heir, to promise she will safeguard The Northeast Quarter, the choice piece of land from which the empire was founded. Ann readily accepts – little knowing what awaits her. When The Colonel is killed unexpectedly the same afternoon, the world around Ann and her family begins to fall apart.
Against the background of America sliding from a post-war boom into The Great Depression, The Northeast Quarter tells the story of Ann’s struggle to keep a promise no matter what. She witnesses the remarriage of her grandmother to Royce Chamberlin, the seemingly humble banker who institutes a reign of terror over the household and proceeds to corrupt the entire town.
Over the next ten years she matches wits with Chamberlin, enduring betrayal, banishment and even physical violence. She grows from a precocious child into a tough-minded young woman – watching, observing her enemy and waiting for the moment to make her move.
And when the moment comes in July 1929, life in Winfield will never be the same.

About the Author: Stuart M. Harris began writing for the theater professionally in 1991 when he was invited by the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York to attend a summer conference. The experience led the native Californian to move to New York to become a playwright. Several of his plays have been produced Off Broadway and around the country, among them. Oona Field produced by Diverse City Theater Company and Colleen Ireland, about a 90-year-old retirement home resident and her great granddaughter, that played in New York, Spokane and other cities, including Hamilton, OH, where it won ‘Best Play’ at The Fitton Center One-Act Playwriting Contest. A follow-up to Colleen was Spindrift Way, the first of ten more plays in the series. The Northeast Quarter began as a full-length play developed by the Works in Progress Theatre Lab at Manhattan Theatre Club Studios. Harris put playwriting on hold in order to weave the story of generations of Iowan farmers into his new historical novel. He lives in Brooklyn.

Connect with the Author on these Social Media Channels
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smharriswrites
Twitter handle: @smharriswrites
Facebook: S.M. Harris
Linked In:
You Tube Channel

The Northeast Quarter Excerpt
Ann saw that Royce’s eyes were on her and not Jack. The battle lines had been drawn long ago. This demonstration was for her benefit, and Jack was the pawn. Royce was planning to get him drunk.
“I want to spend time with my family,” Jack said.
“You can do that later,” Royce countered, “I insist.”
“I’m real sorry to hear that, Royce. But my daughter’s home.”
Ann saw her father smiling back at Royce. He was hesitant but standing his ground, and he was even returning the half smile. Ann felt a spark of encouragement because someone on her side was finally standing up to Royce.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book "The Final Offering" by J.G.Gatewood

About the Book: As a young Haloti fairy living on top of a maple tree, Thula is counting down the days until she reaches adulthood. Her whole life changes when a Grimmox fairy breeches the long-standing peace treaty by crossing their border. Thula isn’t content to watch the destruction of her world, and volunteers for a new military program to counter the incursion. But once in training, she learns the program isn’t about defense at all. It’s about war, and all of the Haloti people are at risk of annihilation. Thula must look to the most unlikely of allies, the Grimmox, to save their world. But they refuse to fight as it goes against everything they believe in. After receiving a vision from the sons of God, she learns this is their last chance to make peace. She was raised by the Haloti, but now sees the world through the eyes of the Grimmox, and is the only one they can trust with this task. If she fails, God will erase the Haloti and Grimmox from the planet. She only has one day to unite them all.

About the Author: J.G. Gatewood is the author of the Keepers of the Orbs Fantasy Series. So far Book 1, The Unknown Man, has been completed and self-published on Amazon. Book 2, The Rising Past was released on Amazon on December 1st, 2015.
He is currently 70% done with the next book in the series, and hopes to have it released by the end of 2016, with the Final book due the end of 2017 or early 2018.
Other writing projects include, The Final Offering(Late 2016) and The Saukarian Children (Early 2017).
When J.G. Gatewood is not writing, he is a full-time Subject Matter Expert and an avid reader.
He lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife of 14 years, and two sons. In what little free time he has remaining, he is usually busy brewing his own beer, crafting his own wine or enjoying a fine cigar.

My Review: This is another very well written book with a compelling plot that flows in a nice pace, characteristic of this young author.  And the overall plot has a more powerful message than I initially thought, but after reflecting for a while I saw how brilliant the author was on passing this strong message disguised in this lovely fairy tale. 
The plot is simple. Our heroine (Thula) is from a fairy group living in the top of the tree, whose life is controlled by what they call the "elders" of the group. They live in fear of "monsters" living in the bottom part of the tree. By an old agreement, they have to provide an offering every year to the "monster", to keep the peace in the tree, preventing them from crossing the borders of the established regions. The offering is a fairy chosen "randomly" by a butterfly, and it is carried away by this same butterfly to never be seen again. But the truth is not how it seems. A fight for keeping the status quo is what really drives this tradition and Thula begins to see the real intentions of the "elders". 
The plot goes on, and we start cheering for our heroine in every turn of page and the story keep us hooked until the end.The environment is superbly described and the characters are well developed and full of life! And the message is like coming from a fable of Aesop. Just brilliant!
If you enjoy fantasy, you cannot miss reading this book. I strongly recommend it to the permanent library of all readers that enjoy a well written book. You will not be disappointed.

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book "Hatching the Phoenix Egg" by Joel Horn

About the Book: Would You Travel a Half-Billion Miles to Escape Your Past?
That's exactly what Ken O'Brien does in this exciting sequel to Lost Coast Rocket.
Driven by a broken heart and a mysterious compulsion he can't understand, Ken launches himself into space. During this one-way trip, he has just ten years to answer as many cosmic questions as he can before his body succumbs to the hostile space environment.
But he's given an unexpected gift and his life is extended. How he spends this gift, however, makes him the most hated man in history. Will the world absolve Ken of his extreme sin? More importantly, will the green-eyed girl who broke his heart forgive him for what he was driven to do?

About the Author: Joel Horn was barely five years old when his family moved to the wilderness. Growing up in the rugged Trinity Alps, Joel and his two older brothers learned how to do the numerous and varied tasks necessary for survival while carving out a life in their remote paradise.
Living this self-reliant life and tutored by the best of teachers, their dad and hands-on experience, the boys achieved a level of self-sufficiency rarely seen in modern times. In Impossible Beyond This Point, Joel combines his parents' writings with his own recollections to create a fascinating and entertaining account of the family's struggle and triumph creating a self-sufficient life in the wilderness.
Lost Coast Rocket is Joel’s debut novel. The story continues in the second book in the Mare Tranquillitatis Series, Hatching the Phoenix Egg.
You can find Joel online at www.JoelHornAuthor.com

My Review: What a sequel! This is the second book on the Mare Tranquilitatis Series. I can hardly wait to know if there will be a third book in this series. 
In the first book we were introduced to Ken, the grandson of a NASA engineer. He meets his good friend, Akira, in a park when they were toddlers and they start a friendship that will last for ages and together they start playing with rocket models until they get enough knowledge to develop their own models. Others get involved and soon they have a group of young kids, each one with its own expertise, contributing to a common goal of developing a prototype rocket that should reach 100 miles altitude. And they do that with an old design based on drawings of Ken's grandfather. In the mix there is a dose of romance and all the good ingredients that make this story extremely enjoyable.
In this second book Ken decides to go on a one-way journey to Jupiter, trying to forget about his broken heart, but his friend Akira has other plans and send a second more powerful rocket to bring his friend back.  In his journey back a situation occurs that would change life on Earth forever, but Ken decides to intervene and change the course of History. As the outcome is not known in advance, people on Earth thought he had no rights to play God and try to stop him, but he is really determined to go ahead with his plan. This book was very well written and edited. The Series as a whole would produce a nice Hollywood movie.
I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of any science-fiction fan. You will not be disappointed!
If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.