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review 2016-08-16 06:43
Book Review: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power #1) by J.J Sherwood
Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, #1; The Kings, #1) - J. Sherwood Weber

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

 

 

Jikun Taemrin by Kristy M (Book Frivolity) -

 In his free time, Jikun amused himself with hunting, women, and a very unsuccessful slew of poetry.

 

Grab yourself a copy of Kings or Pawns at Amazon

 

 

Everyone knows my policy by now: my highest praises come with a character rendering (cause it proves my love yadda yadda)... So, if you haven't worked out by the image, let me say it - I really enjoyed Kings or Pawns.

 

It has all the High Epic Fantasy bits and bobs that I love, but it's been given an edge with the really smart and meticulous way that Sherwood has presented the points of view and the plot line. Intrigue, treason, romance and politics, are perfectly amalgamated; a hard thing to accomplish, and can be the downfall of many an ambitious epic fantasy. This pulls it off without a hitch, and I must say, I was really pleasantly surprised (although I'm a fan of self-pubbed books, a really good epic fantasy is sometimes hard to come by!).  

 

The world building is spot on, it's very engaging with just a touch of science fiction creeping in to give it a slight point of difference over the usual Elvish world narrative. I particularly loved that this was focused on the Elven point of view. So many epics give the Elf the highly snooty, yet lovable sidekick role; yet here Sherwood has given them their own voice, and done it with skill. 

 

There is a great combination of sly humor (I was laughing before the first chapter had finished. Jikun up there is crackling with humor, even when he's not trying!), and serious matter that keeps the reader engaged throughout. It's just an incredibly enjoyable read, and I can't wait to delve into the rest of The Steps of Power series.. when the audiobook of Heroes Or Thieves is available.. please make it available soon..

 

Because that cliffhanger is just mean Sherwood. Bloody Mean. :)

 

I received the audio book version, and the narration by Matthew Lloyd Davies was fantastic. He picked up on the nuances of each character gorgeously. However the audio quality was just a little lower than I am accustomed to, and I occasionally found it hard to hear. You might need to listen to this one through a really good set of earphones, or a proper audio/speaker setup if you are hard of hearing.  

 

 

***

 

 

If you want to check out the Steps Of Power yourself, you can actually win some stuff right now, so enter, check it out... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2014-10-18 06:18
Spare Change
Spare Change - Bette Lee Crosby

By Bette Lee Crosby 

Series: (Wyattsville #1)

ASIN: B005SHN43A

Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing
Publication Date: 9/13/2013
Format:  e-book 
My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

A special thank you to the author for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

Spare Change (The Wyattsville Series #1) by Bette Lee is a true gem; a heartwarming and quirky southern charmer, full of suspense, humor, and mystery, and big on important life lessons! A lovable story of how one small troubled boy and one older alone, and independent widow’s life connect—where miracles, hope, and trust are found in the least expected places.

Set in Virginia, Olivia Westerly has always been suspicious of the number eleven, an independent woman working at the phone company. She was in no hurry to get married, nor have children, as she has seen too many women saddled down with kids with no life of their own. One day Charlie comes into her life, and is married for the first time at almost age 60. Charlie’s wife died years ago, and has a son and a grandson; however, nothing for her to worry about, as they are estranged.

Ethan Allen Doyle, age eleven, with a sad troubled and poor life, with a mother who is miserable, (did not want a child), with no motherly instincts, and her life’s desire is to go to New York and become a singer. His dad is abusive, and controlling and the night his mother tries to make the escape, Ethan witnesses a brutal murder and now he has to escape, or risk his life.

The only person he knows is the grandfather who sent him a dollar each year in a card and the only link is the address on the envelope. How will he get there, he is only eleven (this part is priceless). Surely, his grandfather will take him in, and his Dog(named Dog). However, when the murderer discovers Ethan witnessed the tragic event he is after him and anyone who gets in his way. Ethan needs some spare change and even better, a life saver to pull him out of this tragic life—who can he trust?

What a great story! I loved how all the older neighbors supported Olivia in her time of need, as full of wit and humor mixed with the loss and tragedy. I loved Ethan as you want to take him home with you to keep him safe and the road trip honeymoon to South Beach, was fun (as boy, have I made this trip many times, from Carolina's to South Florida).

Highly recommend this beautiful and intriguing deeply moving southern novel, which will warm your heart, making it difficult to put down. Bette has a way of using flawed characters in horrific dark circumstances; just when you think there is no hope left, fate steps in and places the right person in their path, at just the right time--leaving you smiling. Well- developed characters, which will remain with you long after the book ends.

As I mentioned to Bette, the novel reminds me of the non-fiction memoir by Jimmy Wayne, A Walk to Beautiful, (10/14) with the relation of a troubled boy’s past and an older woman who takes him in and changes his life. Also reminds me of Nicholas Sparks’The Best of Me (as saw the movie today) . Books like these, always reiterates the importance of children in older adults' lives--much wisdom, courage, and comfort for both parties as a strong connection and bond.

Bette has been a friend on Goodreads for some time, and this is my first book - now hooked on her writing and glad to have a Florida author in my backyard. Fans of southern fiction will enjoy her stories. I am looking forward to reading Jubilee's Journey (The Wyattsville Series #2), available now, and Passing Through Perfect (The Wyattsville Series #3), coming Jan. 2015.

If you want to learn more about Canasta (the older woman Olivia meets in Hopeful, GA on her road trip), be sure and read the novella e-short story, A Home in Hopeful!

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1076385752
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review 2013-09-25 10:23
Defiant Heart - Marty Steere

This is Marty Steere's second novel, but for me this is the first that I'm reading after he kindly contacted me through my blog.

I was a little hesitant to read this book at first, partially because it contains a love-story, and love stories have, generally speaking, never been my biggest source of enjoyment. So I didn't really know what to expect of this book, but I agreed to read it, as its premise sounded pretty interesting, as it's set against the backdrop of World War 2, which, ironically, was not even the part that I found most interesting while reading.

What I did find interesting about Defiant Heart was that it is a moving multi-layered character-driven story. All characters are very well fleshed out and their actions, as their back-stories are revealed, make sense and make them appear as real people. From early on it makes you feel sympathy for the main protagonist, Jon Meyer, and utterly dislike the antagonist(s).

What surprised me the most about Defiant Heart, especially in the first half of the book, aside from been extremely well-edited, was that it touched up on topics that I didn't expect from it at first: teen-age bullying, anti-Semitism/racism, selfish parenting and so forth. That was a very surprising twist and it made the book a very interesting and also a very relevant read, as these issues are something that still poisons the society that surrounds us and as can be seen when reading the headlines in the news, as can be seen here and here.

This is definitely a book that is worth your time.

Marty Steere gracefully accepted to answer a few questions that I had for him, so please check out my author interview here.

This review has also been posted on my blog and on Amazon.

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