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30 Dec 2009

The Alfar's Gift

The Alfar's Gift written by Diane Wright and published through Publish America is a fantasy adventure.

Diane Wright lives in Idaho, she is the mother of six and grandmother of nine. The Alfar's Gift is her first published work. A series of poems by Diane Wright is soon to be published. Currently Mrs Wright is working on the sequal to The Alfar's Gift.

The cover of The Alfar's Gift depicts a vast green forest with the ghostly face of a young fair-haired boy against the bark of the nearest tree. The cover does do the story justice for much time is spent in the wilderness however the ghostly figure of the boy Danny would suggest this is a paranormal story not a fantasy. The title is written in white inside a black box framed with a white boarder central and bold bringing more attention to it rather than the cover itself. The authors name is written in black at the bottom.
The back cover is green with white writing with an image of the author Diane Wright, an eight line biography and one third page synopsis. The synopsis describes exactly what happens in the story and what the reader is likely to expect.

When Danny a 14 year old boy arrives at his favourite place he will find his beliefs challenged and his world changed forever. Pulled through to another dimension by an Alfar, Danny must find courage within himself, and friendship with his new companions a mountain man and a beautiful woman, if he is to save the fairies and in turn his own world from the armies of the evil gargantua, Ahrim.

Danny is a boy with alot of growing up to do and we are constantly reminded of this throughout the story right to the last chapter when finally the boy becomes a man in his realisation of the world around him and how he is perscieved by others.
The Alfar's Gift shows a great use of language however at times the character Red uses one or two words which are unclear as to their interpretation.
There is a reasonable use of character species from fairies to humans, to witches, elves and loyal horses. One species of character used appears pulled from the pages of Tolkiens Lord of The Rings.
The reader is not clear on an actual time setting for the story and the few mentions characters make about such things like wanting to take a shower, seem out of place for a story lacking to reveal in which era the story exists.
There is also a moment toward the end of the story which suggests the story is heading in one direction which the reader willingly follows only to find themselves moved two or three more times in another direction confusing them slightly as to what is going on, perhaps which a little more depth this could be corrected.

An adventurer at heart and a wise woman, Diane Wright's presence in this story becomes apparant to those who can say they know her in some capacity. I mean this in a good way, that it shows the passion and knowledge of the author between them and their masterpiece, it is something not often seen especially seen in self published works. I believe that Mrs Wright has written this book as she would tell a story to one of her own family members in a way which teaches them about life and her beliefs.

Apart from a few minor setbacks overall The Alfar's Gift is a well written story and a great book for anyone aged 10 years plus to read, I say this as there are one or two scenes I believe are unsuitable for younger children and a number of words which they would find difficult to understand.
Considering all of the above I still give Diane Wright and The Alfar's Gift 4 out of 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed the story and how it was written and I believe that perhaps with another edit this story could reach 4.5 if not 5 stars. This is one of those stories that if I had children I would like them to read for what they can gain from it.

By R.N. Hadley

16 Oct 2009

The Electronic Adventures Of Diga Byte: Wrong Turn, The First Of His Adventures

The Electronic Adventures of Diga Byte: Wrong Turn, The First Of His Adventures was written by Meredith Mammano and published with Author House.

Straight away from glancing at the cover of this book you know instantly that this is a children's book from the large and bright red fun font to the sketched image of a computer and worm.

Diga Byte is a worm, not just any worm but a computer worm. This story tells of his daily adventures from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes back to sleep, from choosing his topic of the day to eating and to an unexpected adventure beyond his computer.

The book itself is extremely colourful with each chapter having its own colouring. The chapter titls are bold and bright too, and this will help in grasping children's attention. The images portrayed throughout this book and drawn by Thomas Cesarski aren't complicated or pieces of art, they are simple and easy to understand even for the youngest of minds aiding children to follow the books images even if they cannot understand the words printed. The story itself is easy to read with no complicated words, it is clear and precise in what is trying to be said.

Though I myself am not a parent I believe this book is one all parents should allow their toddlers to read, its educative in telling the child what a computer worm is, explaining the internet and how these worms travel, doing it in an enjoyable way and also teaching them the dangers of such a thing. Children will also learn their colours, geography and explaining certain aspects of computers.

Personally I believe this book to be well thought out and very educative and I would recommend this book to anyone I know with a child below the age of 8 years, although I think even some parents may find some enjoyment in it too.

Meredith Mammano is married and a mother of two herself, placing her in the perfect position to write such a book like this for young children interested in computers and easing children onto computers from a young age.

I give The Electronic Adventures of Diga Byte: Wrong Turn, The First of His Adventures by Meredith Mammano 4.5 out of 5 stars.


By R.N. Hadley

26 Sep 2009

Rebirth of Rhin

Rebirth of Rhin written by Julian Traas is available through www.booksurge.com. The book is 26 chapters in length and the cover depicting a lone man carrying a sword surrounded by darkness was created by the authors brother.

The has been dedicated to Mr Traas' family who without their help this book would not have readily been possible.

Julian Traas is of Dutch-American descent and speaks three languages. His ridden the tram in Hong Kong, gazed down from atop the Eiffel Tower, walked under the shade of the mountainous windmills in the Netherlands, stood atop the Pyrenees with one foot in France and the other in Spain, and dipped his toes in the crystalline waters of the Carribean and Mediterranean seas.
Mr Traas started writing Rebirth of Rhin when he was eleven years old, living in France. At that time, I just thought it would be cool if I wrote a book. I rewrote the work about forty times. A few years passed. Then I got serious about it.

When Brekk and his army attack the village of Lynca in search of Rhin, it is a day of utter devastation for both sides and one which will begin the journey of discovery and identity for the forest boy Rhin when his world is thrown into chaos and he is informed the life he has led for so many years is nothing more than a lie.

Fighting for his life Rhin becomes travelling comrades with Daish-rog a man who has been enslaved and had his will taken, with it now returned and Daish-rog free what does he hide from Rhin about who he really is and why won't he answer any of his questions...

On his journey Rhin will encounter new enemies and old friends as well as make new ones. A story of intrigue and fantastical creatures including Whisps, Wolf men and Vevlei; what awaits Rhin come the end of the book. What answers lie in wait for the forest boy born of the storm and where will these answers lead him...

I believe that Mobipocket Reader does not does not do this book any justice at all, while the book itself is an enjoyment to read the reader will often find that should they put the book down one day and go back to it on another although they are taken straight back to the page they left should they have to go back a page or two the page numbers themselves begin to change, I myself have experienced this on more than one occasion and find it quite annoying where you find yourself re-reading what you've already read and unable to find the place you opened the book at. I can definately see some readers letting this stand in the way of them finishhing some books.

I believe Julian Traas to have here in Rebirth of Rhin a wonderful adventure story of self discovery and although my own path reading this has been turned around, doubled back and repeated I still feel that from what I have read so far of this book deserves 4 out of 5 stars.

Julian Traas has informed me that Rebirth of Rhin is available as paperback and kindle, that it isnt available for purchase via Mobipocket Reader.

By R.N. Hadley

19 Mar 2009

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Series Book 1

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Series Book 1 of 4 written by Derek A. Schneider and published by AuthorHouse is a tragic romance at 230 pages in length.

Derek Schneider lives in Camby, Indiana with his wife and two sons. After co-writing and supplying the artwork for a little known, very independent comic book that was eventually put on hold, he decided to focus all of his energy on writing. Inspired by various musical artists, Avenging Autumn is Mr Schneider’s first published book, the second book in the series The Wintermen is also now available.

The cover art for Avenging Autumn depicts a graveyard with a dark haired woman leaning against one of the head stones; this lower half of the image is shown in black and white while the top half of trees are shown in their full autumn glory with orange coloured leaves. The title is central top in bold black lettering while the authors name is in black at the bottom with a white background. The back cover also has the autumn trees at the top below this can be found a short synopsis and author biography.

Avenging Autumn Seasons Change Book 1 follows the story of Benny Writeman and Autumn Sanders. We see them as fully grown adults married and growing up their love blossoming. When Autumn is killed and returns from the grave telling Benny vampires are responsible and she can only truly rest once they are dead, together they turn to the only two people they know they can trust to help them. Death and destruction is their path in seeking those responsible while the family is brought closer together in losing one of their own.

Derek Schneider has created a great and slightly unusual story which holds together nicely. With its historical references I believe it’s the comical nature between the characters which helps to move the story along. The Writeman brothers are very much like the Winchester brothers (Supernatural) brought up in a family with a dark and dangerous secret. Even in dark times love can be a beacon of hope and can still exist between the living and the dead. While death is at their doorstep it is their love for one another and those around them which keeps them fighting onward.

Avenging Autumn is a book aimed at those around the age of 18 years plus and I’d recommend it to anyone, the characters are funny, and the story is ever expanding. I had this book complete within two days and give both Derek Schneider and Avenging Autumn Book 1 four out of five stars.

By R.N. Hadley

4 Mar 2009

Postmarked Baltimore

Postmarked Baltimore is written by Jeff LeJeune and published by Broadmoor Books an imprint of Sterling House Publisher, the novel is both religious and philosophical, and 214 pages in length including prologue.

Jeff LeJeune changed the direction of his life after he survived a deadly disease at 21. He is now a teacher at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, LA, where he was recently named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction. Mr LeJeune has also written a fantasy novel, The Final Chase, which was his first book published, also with Sterling House.

The cover art for Postmarked Baltimore was created by Brandon M. Bittner, it depicts the close up of what appears to be cream paper or parchment with a red ribbon just off centre lying landscape with a bow at the centre of the front cover and encompassing through the back cover. The title ‘Postmarked Baltimore’ is coloured red centre top of the cover while the authors name is also red at the bottom. There is also a small review by author John Ed Bradley. The back cover however does not contain a synopsis, but in fact two reviews and a biography of the author, Jeff LeJeune.

Father Perry Burns lived a solitary life but before that there was Noel, the love of his life, the woman he’d do anything for, she was the one, she was his but for Father Perry Burns she no longer existed. Here we see two sides to the main character, Perry Burns, a teacher, a man in love doing everything he can to be with the woman he loves and, Father Perry Burns a man tormented by the inner demons of his past and trying everything to forget, until the day 15 years later when he finds a later from Noel, ‘Postmarked Baltimore’.

Postmarked Baltimore is a story namely of journey’s, of the journey through life ever complicated, of the journey of a relationship tormented by truth and lies and the journey into man-hood, of growing up, experiencing life and the real world seeing how good and at the same time evil it can be, making a stand and taking the right path.

It is our past and our parents who shape who we become in the world, how we handle truths and lies, good and evil; they teach us to protect those who we love and that self sacrifice is the only sacrifice one should make, and yet nothing but life prepares us for dealing with our inner conflicts.

Postmarked Baltimore reminds us that memories can be both healthy and fatal, and that it can only take one to either make or break you. Perry Burns traded one ring for another in becoming Father Perry Burns, but at what cost? What really occurred 15 years ago?

We all die in the end, but our journey of up’s and down’s, positives and negatives, starts and finishes is also full of life and death. We are the phoenix on a journey through life; there is no destination just the stops we make along the way. It’s a never ending cycle of learning from the mistakes we make.

Jeff LeJeune is a wonderful author who has created highly believable characters and situations that you will often be left thinking of similar moments having occurred in your own life or someone you may know. The writing flows easy and makes for a quick read as the chapters aren’t too long or drawn out. I’d recommend Postmarked Baltimore to anyone aged 16 or over, and I would even recommend this book to anyone wanting to find a book to get them back into reading. I give Postmarked Baltimore 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley

2 Feb 2009

Playing Devil's Advocate

Playing Devil’s Advocate written by Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is 254 pages in length including author bio and warnings to the reader.

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc or The Mistress Of Macabre as she is well known on Myspace and Facebook, has her work described as “creepy, macabre and sadistic” fiction. Her works delve deeply into the world of the supernatural with worlds inhabited by shapshifters, vampires and zombies and focused on homosexual gothic and coming of age themes. While Andrea has published many novels and eBooks she has also accredited to her name a book of poetry, and two collections of short stories. She publishes two magazines Twisted Dreams and Worlds Within – Worlds Beyond, and is the editor-in-chief of The Odd Mind Magazine. In 2005, her novel A Man Of Two Worlds was named Preditors and Editors Best Horror Novel. In 2006 she came in second while in 2007 she came in third.

When Blayre returns home from school with a skip in his step and his report card in hand little does he expect to find the mutilated corpses of his parents awaiting him, nor does he expect to find the killers still on the premises. From this moment on Blayre’s life will change but how? And why?

It’s easy to blame God and the Devil for our outcome in life when we feel we’ve been dealt the wrong cards or even events seem to mimic one another and for Blayre who grows up to be just like those killers there is no God to turn to for Satan has moulded him into his own tool. But every cloud has a silver lining and even in Hell a little hope can still exist for nothing is stronger than the power of love not even the Devil himself.

Playing Devil’s Advocate is a tragic story of loss, of how so easily one’s life can be changed until they become a tormented soul, twisted, unable to trust and love, giving up all hope and turning ones back on God. While there is a feeling of abandonment for the character of Blayre, there is hope and as a reader you find yourself in a similar situation as another character, disliking who Blayre has become over the years and yet wanting him to finally defeat Satan. The power of love, hope, trust and belief play strongly in this novel with emphasis on hope and belief. It is the age old story of good versus evil where good has been twisted into another form of evil.

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a talented writer who is more than capable of taking her readers straight into her stories and making her readers both love and hate the main character at the same time. While some would say the foul language and graphic acts of murder and torture are too much and should remain in darkness, I think we as readers should remember this IS fiction, THIS is what we came to read and should expect no less of any author.

Playing Devil’s Advocate is a wonderful trek to Hell and back with plenty of death and laughter along the way keeping a balance. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 18 years due to the strong language and scenes presented. I give the PDA 4.5 out of 5 stars.

By R.N. Hadley

12 Jan 2009

Shadow Haven : Battle Across The Sands

Shadow Haven: Battle Across The Sands written by N.P. Michaels and published by Publish America is a fantasy at 192 pages in length.

N.P. Michaels was born and raised in Michigan. Shadow Haven or B.A.T.S as it is referred to by the author was published in April 2008 after five years in planning. A further five books in the series are planned, the second currently being only referred to as P.O.T.I will be released late 2009.

The top half of the front cover of Shadow Haven: Battle Across The Sands is white with large green highlighted writing for the title whilst the bottom half is a photograph of a desert landscape with the authors name written in white. A large green symbol sits central on the cover. The back cover is yellow with a green bordered box containing the books synopsis.

Shadow Haven : Battle Across The Sands is based in Esura, a world where Humans, Wizards, Elves and Democs exist but do not get along and racial discrimination is quite high. With the king of Demesia on his death bed, and the heir to the throne unsure of his place within the kingdom, rumour has it an old evil, the wizard known as Aurum, has returned from the grave some six hundred years later. With the kingdom under threat will the prince take the throne and become king of Demesia and can Demesia, even Esura handle the threat they now face.

Having read the synopsis of Shadow Haven : Battle Across The Sands I do find myself interested in the story however, I believe too much history has been given with not enough emphasis on what this first story is about.

Shadow Haven : Battle Across The Sands is a story of friendship, trust and betrayal. While I would recommend this book I would like to stress that this book was not quite for me. While I did enjoy the opening chapters and the battle, I felt the centre of the book and the very end were missing something that I could not place. It took me quite some time to read this book, in part to the fact of so many spelling and grammar mistakes which change sentences entirely letting the story itself suffer. Some scenes do feel rushed while others which could help are missing. The characters however, are interesting and well thought out giving us back history of both old and new races alike. The title Battle Across The Sands fits the story perfectly and I did enjoy how the world of Esura mirrors our own in many ways. N.P Michaels is at his best both at the start of the book during the Odkin and during the battle itself and appears to have left no stone untouched when it comes to creating such an elaborate and exotic world.

I give N.P Michaels and Shadow Haven: Battle Across The Sands 4 stars.

By R.N. Hadley