Book Review: Banned by Angel Leya (Running Toward Illumia Book 1)

Banned
(Running Toward Illumia 1)
Angel Leya
5 Stars

You need to grab this book now and start a magical journey with the talented Angel Leya.

Astrea is an outcast amongst outcasts, the Banned. Her lack of red hair and freckles, a trait that seems to protect them in the mists of their forest home, make her stand out when all she wants to do is fit in. The forests of her home are lacking in sustenance of late, creating a real fear of famine and starvation. When Astrea spots a unicorn in the forest, she’s thinking it’s her lucky day. But, what if killing such a majestic creature brings about a worse curse then starvation?

Come get your feet wet with this quick trip into the latest realm from a talented writer. I’ll be quickly moving on to the next book in the series.

Banned on Amazon

Angel Leya’s Website

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Book Review – Trading Darkness: A Dark Fairytale by Lisa Hofmann

Trading Darkness : A Dark Fairytale
Lisa Hofmann
5 Stars

My Gentle Readers, Lisa Hofmann delivers on all counts in her novel, “Trading Darkness : A Dark Fairytale”. She gives us love and betrayal, magic of many kinds, and the classic dichotomy of light and darkness.

Our story begins with a realm gripped by witch hunting madness and poor Agnes is caught in the middle. She makes a deal with a demonic power in order to try and save her family, but the demon has designs of its own.

The Blackvale familial lands of Wildenburg have a dark secret, and younger brother Gregory is about to find out just what his family’s prosperity costs. When his older brother refuses to see through his end of the pact with the Century Demon that protects their tiny fiefdom, Gregory faces a difficult decision. He must choose one of his twin daughters to sacrifice to the demon. Lose one, or lose everything as his brother so recently discovered.

Gregory gives up Louisa, but then spends the rest of his life and his sanity trying to discover if she lives. He even goes so far as to make a deal with the Immortal Wishmaster, who hides his own dark past.

Lisa weaves these characters together in such a way that you’ll be deep into the book before you realize it. She draws you into this world and makes you care about each character, even the ones you should dislike. Gregory, the father who had to make the most impossible choice. The Wishmaster, bound to balance his own light and darkness within. The Century Demon, wholly given over to revenge, even has a past that makes her bitterness understandable.

I’m so glad I picked this up and will be keeping my eye out for more from Lisa.

Grab your copy on Amazon now.

Book Review – Lost Coast Rocket by Joel Horn

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Lost Coast Rocket
Joel Horn
3.5 Stars

Today I bring to you a story of a child prodigy and his friends building rockets and pushing the limits of legality.

Joel Horn begins the tale of Kenneth B. O’Brien (Ken to his friends) at a very young age. From the time he can walk and talk, Ken is with his Grandpa Arnold, a former NASA engineer. A love of rockets and aeronautics is born within the young boy, an obsession carried through the entire book. Twin traumatic events shape young Ken’s life (the death of his grandfather and a fatal mudslide).

This was enough for me to keep reading at first, even through the mass of technical rocket jargon that dragged down the pace of the action a bit. The constant timeline jumps in the first part of the novel made parts hard to follow or seemed extraneous and unnecessary. (Like the tale of Akira’ father and some hikers later in the book).

These things aside, as the group of misfits age, the action and tension pick up as the team begins to design and build their biggest rocket yet.

I won’t spoil it for you, because I do think this one is worth a read if you like these kind of stories. So pick up your copy today and see what all the fuss is about.

Lost Coast Rocket on Amazon

Joel Horn’s Website

February 8th, 2018 Update – Fatherhood, upcoming projects, etc.

Hello my Gentle Readers. I just wanted to check in and let you all know how my 2018 is shaping up so far. We are more than a month in now and things are really hopping.

Cloaked Press, the publishing company I started last year, is turning 1 year old this month. We are launching our second short story collection, Spring Into SciFi 2018, on March 20th, 2018. (Obviously 2018, since it’s in the title. Haha). It’s very exciting. I’ll throw out the cover here, but if you’d like to get your hands on an ARC and get a chance to talk to some of the authors, then you can join the Launch Street Team.
spring into scifi EBOOK.jpg

I am woefully behind on my own writing projects. My demon infused novella has stalled out. Editing books 2 and 3 of my Family Heritage Series is taxing to say the least. I hate editing/revising. I just want it to be perfect when I bleed that first draft onto the pages, you know? Hopefully once I get Spring Into SciFi put to press, I’ll have more energy to devote to my personal projects.

I hope everyone has been enjoying the guest posts and the recent Meet The Author Monday interviews. I’d love to have more authors to feature on my blog, so if you know any that should be shared with the world, please send them my way. They can get the details on the Meet The Author Mondays Page.

Lastly, I want to tell a story about my daughter (who will be 2 in April). For at least the last 6 months, I have been the primary person to put my daughter to bed at night. I warm up a bottle of milk, we snuggle under a blanket in the recliner in her room that I bought for my wife when she was nursing. We have a tradition of her talking to Quack Quack, which is me making a shadow duck on her ceiling using my cellphone flashlight. She and Quack Quack talk about her day and then he gives her a “shadow smooch” and she finishes her milk. Normally, I would end up falling asleep in the chair with her and wake up a few hours later (usually when we both have turned into the furnace we become when we sleep). Then I could put her in her crib and go to my bed. I know this was a cause for dissatisfaction for my wife, as I didn’t get to come back and spend time with her before she went to bed. Lately that has all changed and my feelings are bittersweet about it. Our routine is slightly changed: warm bottle, snuggled in recliner with blanket, conversation with Quack Quack. The difference is when she finishes her bottle, she hands it to me, and says, “Done.” Then she will usually roll over like she is going to snuggle in, and immediately starts to kick the blanket off, telling me she’s, “Done”. If I ask her, “Are you ready for your bed?” She will tell me, “Yes. Done.” or “Night Night”. If I don’t move fast enough to put her in her bed, she gets quite upset with me.

I miss the snuggles, but I am grateful for the hour or two that I get back in the evening as it has helped me to get things ready for Spring Into SciFi, and actually get a little bit of editing done. Here is a recent picture of my little princess. She has her pajamas on still, but she put her mother’s snow boots on so she could take a sled ride with her grammy. (For the record we waited until later and had real snow worthy clothes on when the sled ride happened.)
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Guest Post – Timelost by Chris Turner

Human vs Alien

A pilot stranded on a faraway planet, timelost. An alien seeking symbiosis.

Visceral alien battles, planetary wars. Experience the adventure…along with edge-of-the-seat SF audio in this Star Wars meets Alien thriller.

In 2014, I started sequencing original SFF to audio using the Booktrack free studio tool, and it offered up a unique, creative experience. I was amazed at how the placement of some well-crafted audio, synced by word, sentence or paragraph could make a story come alive—in the same way a soundtrack makes a movie come alive. To date, I have produced a few dozen, text-and-audio renditions of my stories, drawing on the wide variety of sound clips from the Booktrack audio library.

The Timelost, my most recent production, is a gritty, dystopian foray into the macabre.

The world-building was intense, as I tried to incorporate elements of ‘galactic empire’, the theme of ‘a few struggling against many’, and extraordinary alien adversaries. I also wanted to develop the concept that an ordinary person, the pilot Miko, when plunged into a hostile, colonized, or uncolonized world with chilling advanced alien technology, could become a hero. And not just by circumstance.

The movie Prometheus, even though I had seen it after writing The Timelost, deeply moved me and confirmed my fascination with a SciFi, man-vs-alien conflict. Human and alien genesis theories intertwine as the characters scramble to survive many bizarre and unexpected hostile encounters. The story took on overtones of fantasy horror as it gained momentum, with elements not dissimilar to the Cthulhu mythos a la Lovecraft and the imaginative works of R.E. Howard.

I invite you to enter Miko’s distorted world in The Timelost. The Booktrack text-and-audio based format thrusts the reader into the terrifying unknown of planets of deep space.

Booktrack: http://bit.ly/2EhEfFH

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Timelost-Chris-Turner-ebook/dp/B079D5FBVS

Guest Post – 10 Reasons Not To Visit Illumia

Hi, I’m Angel Leya, and I write clean young adult stories with (at least) a touch of magic and romance. My latest story is Running Toward Illumia, Astrea’s tale of finding herself while running from the one thing she wants most:

To find her sense of belonging.

Astrea’s lived in the Mist all her life, and she loves it there. In fact, she’d do just about anything to feel like she fits in with her Rudan people, even hunt a unicorn to feed her starving tribe.

Illumia is the first city beyond the Mist, just past the Dragon Range. Astrea’s come up with 10 reasons to never go to Illumia. I’ll let her tell you more.

***

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Travel to Illumia

10. They don’t have fog.

Who needs sunshine? I’m a Mist girl. Great for concealing movement, comfortable like an old blanket, and you never have to worry about dry skin.

9. They don’t all have red hair.

That’s why this tribe is here, despite being sent to the fog to die. And why we call ourselves the Rudan, rather than the Banned.

Wish my hair was redder. And I could use a few more freckles. But I’m one of the Rudan, I swear. I’d be dead if I wasn’t.

8. They’re weak.

Fog weeds out the weak. And if the fog doesn’t, the Lynx, ogres, or Rudan will. Illumians live the easy life. They have no reason to be strong.

7. They’re not very welcoming.

The Rudan take in anyone who can survive the fog. Illumians kicked us out (or at least my parents, but children of the Banned are no less welcome).

6. Illumians are idiots.

Everyone says so.

5. Big government.

I know all five of my council members, and they earned their spot. Like Seneca, first huntress—my mentor. Illumians probably have no idea who runs their council.

4. The journey’s dangerous.

Even if you can navigate the fog, streams filled with flesh-eating fish, and ogre-infested swamps, there’s the dragon range. There’s one pass, guarded by Illumians. The rest is mountain. Treacherous, dragon-housing mountains. No other way around it. Going to Illumia is a fool’s errand.

3. My family’s not there.

If you think getting one person into Illumia is hard, try five. Two brothers, plus Mamaa and Pawpaw.

Course, the whole tribe’s basically family. I’d want to take them all.

Except maybe Mavin. He’s a jerk. (Kidding. Sort of.)

2. I can never come back.

Going to Illumia is a one-way trip. Illumians and dragons ensure that.

1. I don’t want to.

Do I need any other reason?

***

Thanks for reading! If you’d like more, click for an excerpt from Banned, Part 1 of Running Toward Illumia.

Get all 4 parts of Running Toward Illumia today:

Banned (free!)

Lost (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Drenched (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Marked (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)