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review 2019-03-25 20:29
Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragonlance Chronicles #1 by Margaret Weid & Tracy Hickman
Dragons of Autumn Twilight - Tracy Hickman,Margaret Weis

I picked up the annotated copy of the whole trilogy a few years ago at a book sale along with some other Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms titles. I'd owned and purged them before, but something itched at me to not let them go by this time.

 

The plot begins as many campaigns should - in an inn and is the planned reunion of former companions. Of course, somebody has bigger plans in store for them. There are a lot of characters and a lot of lore-building going on, but it was never confusing and, as the annotations stress, the historical timelines, the deities, the cosmology, etc. were all figured out beforehand. The book reads like a D&D campaign sometimes but was not actually a word-for-word transcription of the play-tests. Important character developments did happen around that table, however, so it was nice to see some of the myths validated.

 

Our heroes, listed below for because reasons, deliberately make up a lot of the archetypes of AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, or Second Edition). These roles were important for character and for the tie-in, but they helped, somewhat, diversify the book. I mean, they were all white and mostly male, but a dwarf, a kender and a gold-skinned mage have to count for something.

 

Tanis Half-Elven - our broody leader.

Flint Fireforge - Dwarf

Tasslehoff Burrfoot - Kender, a halfling race that loves travel and hates other people's boundaries.

Sturm Brightblade - A human paladin, even more broody than others.

Caramon Majere - Dudebro human fighter

Raistlin Majere - A human magic user, rumored and feared to be powerful but Magius staff notwithstanding he's limited by D&D rules to, like, three spells a day. His gold, skin, hourglass-shaped irises, and constant cough don't add up to much. Yet.

 

They are joined at the inn by Riverwind and Goldmoon, two "barbarians" from the plains who have a star-crossed lovers past and have been recently gifted with a holy artifact.

 

The companions are later joined by Tika the Bar Maid, who wants to be trained as a warrior, and the elf Laurana. An absent character, frequently talked about is the Majere's older sister Kitiara who was a tough fighter and is following her fortune in other books, for now. Also a batty old mage named Fizban.

 

Knowing the series' limitations it was still easy to get back involved with the adventure as the party gets sent from encounter to encounter. Interestingly, for this first book Weis and Hickman made every effort to not stray from the printed adventures that had been published. Someone can read this book and play almost the exact same encounters in the same maps. That's pretty cool, but also really limiting. I can see why the writers strayed from the script. Its more impressive than to read this and see the foreshadowing and the character development - reveries about past gatherings, deceased loved ones, personal jokes, etc. - being accomplished in such a tight frame. Also, considering the weight that this series has - over 150 books published by 2010 - there wasn't much of what I'd call info-dumping. Seriously, most of the lore-giving drops into conversation naturally as the adventurers catch up with each other. The narrator only occasionally goes on a tangent to tell us about Something Completely Different.

 

You know, this was a lot better than I was hoping for. After I couldn't get over the mostly passive or non-existent nature of women in my beloved 'The Summer Tree' (among other things), I didn't think this book would stand a chance. Don't get me wrong, this is pure by-the-numbers D&D fantasy with some awkward moments but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

 

I'll keep going with these, but I do have to say that most of the annotations weren't necessary, and a lot of trivia was duplicated. I did love how they described that the half-page chapter illustrations were the more 'elegant' option.

 

Dragonlance Chronicles

 

Next: 'Dragons of Winter Night'

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review 2019-03-11 18:30
Book Review for Blood Moon Magic Elements of Twilight #1 Series by Isobelle Carmichael
Blood Moon Magic (Elements of Twilight #1) - Isobelle Carmichael
 
 
 
 
Title: Blood Moon Magic
Series: Elements of Twilight #1
Author: Isobelle Carmichael
Genre: Adult Paranormal Harem Romance
  • File Size: 3819 KB
  • Print Length: 364 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1798474239
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: March 4, 2019
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07L425LT5
  • Reviewed by Angels With Attitude Book Reviews
  • arc copy provided for honest review
  • 5 stars from us
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The shifters are dying
 
And it's up to me to save them
Even if it means going to extremes.
 
As the future alpha,
Duty is the code I live by.
 
And now it’s time to make a choice.
Crossbreed or die.
 
I agreed to the Claiming ceremony,
but under my own terms.
 
With an insatiable hunger,
My raging wolf has ideas of her own.
 
And Five, sexy, dragon mates are what she craves.
All five are delicious and irresistible.
 
Why choose one mate
When all five make me yearn for more?
 
After all, the fate of the race lies in my hands,
And I plan to keep those hands very busy.
 
Blood Moon Magic is the 1st in the Elements of Twilight series. This is a #whychoose style novel. These books have potentially triggering elements and explicit scenes. This book has FMMMM, light MM, BDSM, torture, and dark themes.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let's start off by saying this is a new author for us and we really enjoyed our first read by them.I have to say that although I have read some Reverse Harem books in the past I have never read one in the paranormal gene, but, I am really glad I choose this book to venture there.We really loved that this was a werewolf clan of alpha shifters that were mostly women who were interbreeding with other clans like the dragons and choosing them for their mates.What will there children be like? The Alpha clans are trying to save their clan from extinction and perhaps this is the way.
 
I loved the story from beginning to end and we loved all the characters they were totally awesome .Abby had choosen some smokin hot sexy dragon mates like Shaun,Kaleb,Justin,Marcus,Kaden who were all different and each one of them carried a unique magic element that made them even more special.Marcus had to be my favorite though as he had my mouth watering the entire story with his food porn lol  but, we loved them all.
 
The story had a great plot had tons of drama and a really touching love story.We loved that Abby's men courted her for months and were getting to know her and falling in love and also connecting and bonding with her all the while taking care of her sexual needs without actually having sex. Omg ! their were so many fun sexy scenes that made us laugh out loud.Can you just imagine 5 sexy hot sexy dragons tauting a women's lady parts for months on end ? lol
 
We loved Abby she was known as her Clans Alpha second in command to her mother the head Alpha and she was well loved and respected and had some amazing friends like Chey and Cara who knew to party and have a good time as well as having some really fun girls nights which brought us tons of laughs every time these women got together.
 
The story was one hot read and the chemistry between Abby and her 5 dragons made for some really hot sexy scenes.This story was awesome in our book and really engaging right from the onset of the set of the story and we were still engrossed in it to the very end.We loved the mystery and the magic that the story wrought as well as all the twists and turns the story took and learning that the people all around Abby were betraying her trust time and time again.By the end of the story so many secrets kept coming to light and we were finding out that their is someone or someones that are still out their wanting to hurt Abby and perhaps her clan.Something sinister is definitely in the wind but,time will tell as the story ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and Abby's story is not over just yet and we can't wait to see what happens next.
 
I will say that this new debut author did and amazing job with creating this engrossing tale for us to love and she defiantly made us fall in love with the characters she created for us .
 
A job Well done !
 
Recommended read to all!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm Isobelle, a writer from Northern Virginia. I've been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. However, it wasn't until I crossed in that magical world known as my 30's that I shook off the last vestiges of fear and dove head first into my writing career. I started writing in September 2018 and fell in love. I hope you enjoy my stories because I pour a piece of myself into every page. I started this journey as a passion project, and to prove myself right.. Everyone deserves to live out there dreams. When not writing I'm also a fan of cooking, musical theatre and spoiling my dog. I love reverse harem, dark paranormal, urban fantasy and fantasy. I listen to my muse and write what she gives me.
 
My fondest wish is to write for all sorts of different people. I want to be very inclusive in my writing because I feel like there’s a place for that. I think that everybody should be able to pick up a book and find somebody they identify with. I want to write characters that are real, even if they’re in a fantastical world. Which means, touching on subjects that might be disturbing to some, but is a way of life to others. Life isn't all rainbows and lollipops. We have to go through a storm once in a while. That's what makes the reward sweeter!
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

 

 
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review 2019-03-05 11:49
There is always a price to pay. A fun and fast horror novella.
A Plague of Pages: A Horror Story from the Dead Boxes Archive - John F Leonard

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novella.

I recently read another one of Leonard’s stories from the Dead Boxes Archive, Call Drops (you can find my review here), thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not resist reading another one in the collection.

Much of what I said about the previous story applies to this one. Yes, if you love the Friday the 13th series, The Conjuring, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, you’re likely to enjoy this. But, this is horror, and this story, more than the previous one, goes into fairly gore detail.

I won’t spend too long rehashing the plot of the story, because if you’ve read the author’s description you already know what is about. Anthony is a man who’s lost everything (well, not quite everything, as it turns out), and decides to try his hand at writing. Well, we’ve all been there (not perhaps having lost everything, but thinking about becoming a writer). That he decides to go old school and use pen and paper is more surprising, but his father dealt in antiques and he has an interesting heirloom to put to good use. Or bad. Of course, things take a turn for the weird soon enough.

The story is told in the third person, mostly from Anthony’s point of view, although, interspersed in the novella are some chapters that follow the investigation into a very strange streak of crimes. In fact, the book starts with one of the most bizarre crime scenes I’ve come across (and yes, I read a lot of thrillers, so that’s saying something). A word of warning: if you are of a sensitive nature, especially when it comes to libraries and librarians, you should look away. But don’t worry. I won’t describe it. Those chapters of the story, told from the point of view of Detective Sergeant Shadwell, Adi, read like a standard thriller, with the case-worn detective, the less than politically-correct policeman, the uninterested boss, and will probably feel familiar to those who read in that genre. Adi is a likeable character and shows a good deal of patience and resilience, but we don’t get to know him too well. This is a novella, after all, and most of it is taken up by Anthony’s events. You’ll probably suspect that the two seemingly separate parts of the story are interconnected in some way or other, even though the first chapter is set up “After the Handfield Tragedy” (yes, foreshadowing or what?) , and then we go back several months to get to the main action of the book. After that opening, we take up the story of Anthony, which starts innocuously enough, like many other stories you might have read about people who’ve lost everything and quickly fall into a hole, unable to find a way of slowing their downward spiral. But there is the pen, and strange things start happening quickly.

Although the story and the cards he has been dealt might make Anthony sound sympathetic, and he experiences things that would have made anybody feel unhinged, this feeling, at least for me, did not last long. Yes, he protested and claimed to be shocked for what he might have unwittingly caused, but it soon became evident that he showed no true empathy for anybody he met, and he was more preoccupied for himself and his own safety than for that of others. He seems to always think in clichés, platitudes, popular and old sayings, and proverbs, as if he did not have a single original thought in his head, and when we hear from his father, it seems that this is a family trait. As was the case in the previous story, it seems that the objects belonging to the Dead Boxes choose their owners well, indeed, and seem able to dig deep into the characters’ psyche and uncover less than flattering characteristics.

I enjoyed the story, although as was the case with the previous one, I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t enjoy horror or graphic violence. It is not a story likely to make you jump, but it builds up pace, and the events get more horrific as you read on (well, after the shocking start). The interim chapters from the point of view of the investigator (also written in the third person) give the reader a bit of a break, a touch of normalcy, although due to the nature of the crimes, this is relative.

I felt this novella is more likely to satisfy readers who like a sense of closure and explanation than Call Drops. We get more information about the item itself, and there are hints at the full mythos behind the Dead Boxes, which grabbed my attention.  And the ending… Well, readers have known from the beginning that something big was coming, but not necessarily what. Yes, it worked for me.

Because this is a short novella, I don’t want to share too many quotes from it because it would make it difficult not to give away too many spoilers, but I thought I’d close with this short one, which for me encapsulates a warning we should all pay attention to:

There was always a cost. That was how everything worked. Supernatural or humdrum day to day. It was all the same. You could get some goodies so long as you were willing to pay.

Leonard delivers again. I look forward to more stories from the Dead Boxes Archive.

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review 2019-02-02 12:37
A dark and creepy read with a twisted sense of humour
Call Drops: A Horror Story - John F Leonard

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, check here), and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novella.

I won’t keep you guessing, I loved this story. After reading several longish novels in a similar genre, I fancied a break. And what better break from reading than reading something completely different?

I had read some great reviews of another one of Leonard’s novellas (also from the Dead Boxes Archive series) from members of the review team and knew I was in for a treat.

The story starts innocuously enough. An old man of means, Vincent Preece, (he used to have a business, one of the early businesses in mobile phones, and he sold it making a big profit) who likes to go to second-hand shops and car-boot sales finds something rather unusual and impossible to resist for him. It looks like an old mobile phone, but he does not recognise the model and cannot find any indication of how it works. Still, he has to have it.

If, like me, you loved the old Friday the 13th TV series with its creepy objects, or other similar stories (including some of the films in the Conjuring series), you will have guessed by now that things are going to take a turn for the interesting. And they do.

I don’t want to spoil the read, but let’s say the phone does not keep silent for long, and the atmosphere gets creepier and darker as it progresses. The story, told in the third person but almost totally from Vincent’s point of view, gets deeper and deeper into the protagonist’s psyche. When we meet him, he is a lonely man, somewhat embittered and opinionated (although he keeps those opinions to himself), who has suffered losses in his life, from his business and his cat, to his wife and daughter, but he seems settled and has learned to enjoy the little things in life. He is a keen and witty observer, has a quick mind, and a sharp sense of humour. I am not sure I would say she is the most sympathetic character I’ve read about, but he comes across as a grumpy but amusing old man, and his wit and the plot are more than enough to keep us engaged and turning the pages. If you’re a reader of the genre, you’ve probably guessed that things are not as clear-cut as they seem, but I won’t give you any specific details. You’ll have to read it yourselves.

Is it a horror story? It is not a scary story that will make you jump (or at least I don’t think so), but there are some horrifying scenes in it, graphically so (although no people are involved), and they’ve put some pictures in my mind that will probably remain there for a long time, but it is more in the range of the darker The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents type of stories than something that will have you screaming out loud. If you read the description of the series, you’ll get a good sense of it, and the epilogue and the closing warning to the reader are very well done and reminded me of both these TV programmes.

The writing style is crisp and to the point, and the author manages to create a credible character with recognisable personality traits despite the briefness of the story. There are also moments when the writing reaches beyond functional storytelling, as if the character had dropped his self-protective shell and his stiff attitude and was talking from the heart.

Here, talking about his wife and daughter:

Their departure had left Vincent mystified and empty. As if the marrow had been sucked out of him. Hard to stand with hollow bones.

But also:

However liberal you tried to be, some folk were simply a waste of good organs. There was no denying it.

I won’t talk about the ending in detail. There is a twist, and although some readers might have their suspicions, I think it works well, and I enjoyed it.

I recommend this book to people who like dark and creepy reads, have a twisted sense of humour, and don’t mind some horrifying scenes. If you love The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents and are looking for a short and quick-paced read, give it a try. Perhaps we don’t need Dead Boxes’ objects in our lives, but we definitely need more of their stories.

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review 2019-02-02 00:00
Edinburgh Twilight
Edinburgh Twilight - Carole Lawrence Sometimes I read a historical mystery/suspense book as a mini-vacation, and Edinburgh Twilight fit that bill. I do need to note that the book contains a good bit of violence and sexual encounters (which almost edge it out of the "mini-vacation" category).

I most enjoyed the setting and a street urchin named Derek. The author does a good job of depicting Edinburgh without letting the city donimate the story. (In my opinion, Edinburgh can do that, especially in winter.)

But the book is "neither fish nor fowl" to me, and I can't figure out what's off-putting about it. Perhaps something about the author's style kept me at a distance throughout this story, as did the fact that I never felt as if the protagonist was fully fleshed out.
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