Emmy Nation GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discovering/Writing Life

Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette is officially 7 months old! Can you believe it? Seven months ago I published my debut novel through an agony of butterflies in my stomach and I’ve been so blessed with a warm, welcoming and wonderful reception! I can’t thank you all enough for the encouragement and support that you have shown! In celebration, I am hosting a giveaway on Goodreads! All the details are right here, so keep reading and please share (especially with people who haven’t read the book yet!) 

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NEW RELEASE – 4 BRAVE STARS FOR BEING JAZZ: MY LIFE AS A (TRANSGENDER) TEEN by Jazz Jennings – BOOK REVIEW

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5 Stars for SOLARIS MORTEM by Rusty Henrichsen – BOOK REVIEW

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Title: SOLARIS MORTEM

Series: THE NEW PATRIOTS – Book One

Author: RUSTY HENRICHSEN

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Science Fiction

Type of Book: Softcover

Length: 240 pages

Release Date: May 29, 2016

Publisher: Cabin Creek Press LLC

ISBN: 9781533313225

Price: $9.50 USD for paperback

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

As I began reading SOLARIS MORTEM, I started to think that it was going to be the same as so many other Post-Apocalyptic books that are now available. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this book is different.

There is a huge twist away from the typical ‘survival-at-all-costs’ plotline. This book will actually make you think while still being hugely entertaining.

The character of Terry is (or was) a long haul trucker. He’s unmarried and lives with his divorced sister and her two kids. He is on his way home to Seattle from California when a series of solar flares light up the sky and a blinding white flash of light nearly blinds him. When he is able to see again, he realizes that the power has been knocked out, including the power to his truck and to all the other vehicles on the road.

Two hundred and fifty miles from home Terryville has a long and dangerous walk ahead of him, but he eventually makes it.

Reaching Seattle he is shocked and confused with what he finds there. A government-type group calling themselves “The New Patriots” have taken over his hometown as well as the lives of all those who live inside it.

Is this group benevolent? Are they just trying to restore order in a world that has quickly devolved into chaos? Or is something more sinister going on? And if so, what is Terryville going to do about it?

I received this book in the mail yesterday and as soon as I started reading, I was unable to put it down. The book is fast paced and packed with action, yet this did not take away from character development. The characters are believable and they are regular people which is another choice by the author that I heartily applaud. Too often in this type of book the main character has military training or is a Prepper. This is unrealistic. I am much more interested in reading about how an “average Joe” would deal with the apocalypse.

Not only is SOLARIS MORTEM a terrifically entertaining tale, but it also poses many questions and quandaries for its characters regarding morality and personal values. It is impossible to read this book without asking yourself what the reader would do if he/she were to face the same dilemmas. I know it certainly made me think.

I highly recommend this book. I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I will definitely be on the lookout for the second book in THE NEW PATRIOTS Series.

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The second book is titled SOLARIS MORTEM – HOMECOMING and is due to be released in September 2016.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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RUSTY HENRICHSEN makes his home in Washington state and enjoys all manner outdoor activities.

He also likes to lock himself indoors, stare at an LCD screen for hours on end, and bang away at the keys of his trusty laptop.

When he’s not busy enjoying outdoor activities or exhibiting writer’s neurosis, he makes a living designing homes.

He is also a husband and a father with a brood of seven, the greatest of all his accomplishments.

For more information visit the author online:

Official Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

A Terrific Beach Read – 5 Stars for CONJURING CASANOVA by Melissa Rea – BOOK REVIEW

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Title: CONJURING CASANOVA

Author: Melissa Rea

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Fiction

Length: 259 pages

Release Date: June 2015

Publisher: She Writes Press

Cover Design: Julie Metz

Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-056-3

Price: $16.95 USD

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I’m not quite sure how to start this book review. There is so much to say about CONJURING CASANOVA that it is difficult to figure out where to begin, so I will just dive right in.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hillman is a forty-nine year old Emergency Room Doctor who happens to be single and who also happens to have an obsession with the eighteenth century and one of its most notorious inhabitants – Giacomo Casanova.

I can’t think of anyone who has not heard of Casanova. Even if you don’t know much (or anything at all) about the actual historical figure of Casanova, his name is synonymous with being a “ladies man.” Lizzy is fascinated by his memoir and spends all her free time reading about his exploits.

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This is the sexy Casanova himself - obviously female tastes have changed over the centuries.

After a horrific day in the emergency room where a seven year old girl died, Lizzy returns home to try to escape the sadness of her day in the only way she knows how; with her favorite man: Giacomo Casanova. Lizzy believed that “Casanova was all male. Reading his memoir was like having a man for a friend without any risk to her heart.”

After being forced to take a vacation, Lizzy decides to head to Venice to explore the many places she has read about in Casanova’s memoir. 

Staying at a hotel where Casanova once lived two hundred years earlier, Lizzy finds herself giving in to self-pity on the rooftop terrace where breakfast is now served by the hotel staff.

When the real Casanova suddenly appears at her side, chivalrously holding out a handkerchief for her to use to dry her tears, Lizzy is appropriately stunned.

Casanova is Casanova and even in the twenty-first century he oozes both charm and sexuality. But, Lizzy is too smart (and too jaded) to fall for what she considers his ‘act’.

But, she has a problem (well, several problems actually) how the heck is she going to send him back to where he belongs?

This book is a fun-filled romp that carries the reader along on Lizzy’s journey of unexpected self-discovery and world travels. From the gritty, real world of a Chicago Emergency room where children die for no good reason to the majesty that is the modern city of Venice, readers will be afraid to put this book down for fear of having to come back to their own reality.

As I found when I began reading this book, the author is a ‘quote-machine’. She throws out tiny pearls of wisdom as she writes that had me saving quotes right from the first chapter. Not only did she include many meaningful quotes in her writing, but she also included some terrific one-liners. I have included a few of my favorites at the end of this review.

Melissa Rea has a gift for describing people. With only a few sentences she is able to describe a character so vividly that you would swear to be looking at a photograph rather than reading a book. A perfect example of this is her description of Lizzy’s cleaning lady: “Roxanne had an athletic figure that made it impossible to guess her age, and three-inch braids all over her head that made her look like a hedgehog or a sea urchin, if either had gorgeous brown eyes and a bright generous smile. Today she wore a little lime green rompers that made her skin look even more like a big cup of hot chocolate, brown and comforting.”

Obviously this book is pure fantasy and escapism, but that is exactly what makes it such a perfect ‘Beach Read’. 

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Photo obtained from the author's Twitter page

Have you ever had a conversation with friends where you were asked; “If you could have dinner with only one person,  living or dead, who would it be?” This book takes that concept to the next level. 

I enjoyed the story for what it is; a fun, light-hearted fantasy. This book is entertaining. The author has done a good job of including details from the eighteenth century but the entire process of Casanova becoming acclimated to life in the twenty-first century is glossed over. But, if the author had focused on those details I believe it would have weighed down the story so, in this instance it works.

I am rating CONJURING CASANOVA as 5 out of 5 stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

“Things did not have to last forever to bring happiness.”

Her vagina was certainly not unhappy, just a little lonely.”  

“He loved women like modern men loved NASCSR, football, and corporate takeovers…”

“It surprised her how much it still hurt to think of her mother’s death after a year, and how little gin helped. No one deserved lung cancer, no matter how much they smoked.”

“Lizzy noted that the big mama spider-vein on her thigh must have had babies over the winter.”

“…Lizzy had decided long ago; priorities were priorities. If she only had money for one, a cleaning lady took precedence over food.”

“The man and the dream were never the same.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Melissa Rea hss a degree in psychology with a minor in French and is an amateur Casanovist.

A dedicated researcher, she has read Giacomo Casanova’s memoir Histoire de Ma Vie many times in English and in its original Archaic French. She traveled to Paris to see the handwritten manuscript when it was displayed for the first time in over two hundred years, and has stayed in the hotel in Venice that was Giacomo Casanova’s home for nine years.

Originally from Louisiana, Rea studied dentistry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She practices in St. Louis where she lives with her husband, and is at work on her third novel. When not drilling, reading or writing, she is in search of the next Madmen/50s era 

To learn more about Melissa Rea and her books visit her online:

Official Melissa Rea Website

Facebook

Twitter

4 Stars – I was definitely NOT disappointed in THE MAGIC OF CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT by Julie Manthey – BOOK REVIEW

Magic of Cape Disappointment Cover Pic

The Magic of Cape Disappointment

by Julie Manthey

 

 

Discover The Magic of Cape Disappointment novel by Julie Manthey today – a Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist for 2015!

 

 

MY REVIEW:
I absolutely LOVE Indie Authors. It takes a lot of hard work and an extreme amount of dedication to self-publish a book and I admire authors who have that drive and tenacity.

The cover is what initially attracted me to this book. A woman standing with her back to the “camera” with arms held wide on a cliff with wind whipping around her. This grabbed my attention and made me want to read the synopsis.

Also, “The Magic of Cape Disappointment” is an interesting and intriguing title. It makes potential readers wonder why anyone would name a place “Cape Disappointment” and exactly what magic happens there. Is it good magic? Is it bad or evil magic? Is it even magic at all? Or is it something else?

This book, at is core, is about the fact that you can’t escape your destiny no matter how hard you try.

The story is about the unknown ancestors of the Lewis family. And yes, I do mean Lewis, as in the Louis & Clark Expedition.

No one has ever known that Lewis fell in love, married, and impregnated an Indian priestess. He had vowed to return to her so that they could spend the rest of their lives together, but he ended up dying before he could fulfill his promise. This riveting storyline is only an aside to the actual tale.

Centuries later, Lewis’s many times great granddaughter is living in New York. She has just completed medical school and has decided to become an artist rather than complete her residency.

But, despite her desire to live her own life and to take a path of her own choosing, tragedy, promises and fate all conspire against her and she returns home to Cape Disappointment.

Magic, romance, heartache and heartbreak all follow in this cunningly crafted tale.

This book will appeal to fans of Sarah Addison Allen.

I enjoyed the story and although I never believed that any of the things in the book would ever happen in real life, this book is escapism at its finest.

I rate it as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Magic of Cape Disapppointment Author Pic Julie Manthey

Julie Manthey started writing stories for her family and friends as soon as she could hold on to a crayon. She is a proud Hoya alumna of Georgetown University.

Julie thinks that the best part of writing fiction is imagining alternate worlds and mixing up a small echo of reality with a very large dose of fiction to create a fun, magical reading escape. She hopes that you enjoy the magical and fictional world she created in The Magic of Cape Disappointment. Julie is also currently writing the second novel in the Cape Disappointment series.

She is an independent author and has self-published her novel. If you enjoyed reading it, please, tell all your friends and consider writing a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble.

Book Two is just as amazing – maybe even more so – 5 Star BOOK REVIEW for THE SOULTAKERS by Christina L. Rozelle 


Title: THE SOULTAKERS 

Series: The Treemakers Trilogy

Author: Christina L. Rozelle 

Genres: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Science Fiction

Length: 387 pages

Publisher: A Spark in the Dark Press 

Release Date: December 3, 2015 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
DESCRIPTION/SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS: 

“What a journey you have been on, Joy Montgomery. But it isn’t over yet . . . . No . . . I’m afraid you have much farther to go.” 

Joy Montgomery is a hero. The Treemakers are finally home, safe and free in a well-deserved and long dreamed of paradise. The children can now settle into normal, carefree lives. Or so they thought.

Troubled by secrets their newfound paradise reveals, coupled with tangled feelings toward those she loves, Joy sees the painful truth: they’re still prisoners forever wounded by the effects of a traumatic past. 

An ominous warning from a trusted friend strengthens her resolve to never let down her guard, to always be prepared, to be ready for war . . . both inside and out.

Once again, the Treemakers are faced with escaping disaster, and Joy’s strength is pushed to its limit, her sanity pushed to the brink of collapse. 

Just when their situation couldn’t get any more desperate, they’re thrust into a series of shocking tribulations that are nothing short of nightmarish. 

Will the Treemakers of Greenleigh annihilate the forces of evil that seek to capture and control their souls? Or will the magic Joy thought she found turn out to be just another illusion?

This is the second book in the Treemakers Trilogy. This series is intended for mature YA audiences, as there are certain mature themes (abuse, character deaths, etc.,) which may be too emotionally intense for younger readers.
MY REVIEW: 
I wish I had a more eloquent word to express my love for this series instead of the word that immediately comes to mind, which is “WOW“. 

The Treemakers Trilogy is so fast paced and so thrilling that once you start reading the first book, (THE TREEMAKERS) you literally are unable to put it down and it is impossible to not immediately begin reading Book Two: THE SOULTAKERS. 

Have chores to do? Need to go to work? Too bad. These books are worth calling in sick for – just stay home and keep reading. 

There are a few young adult authors that currently write books that immediately pull you into their world, grab your attention and pique your curiosity and imagination so tightly that you feel compelled to keep reading long into the night. THE SOULTAKERS is one of those rare books. 

Author Christina L. Rozelle has created a terrifyingly dark and detailed yet believable dystopian future. Perhaps that is what makes this series so fascinating – the sad (and scary) fact that this is a future that is eminently possible.

Christina L. Rozelle seems to have a an incredibly keen understanding of the darkness that can lie in the human psyche while still holding onto hope in people’s inherent goodness .

THE SOULTAKERS is a story of the battle between not only good and evil, but also the battle between hope and despair. 

This book has earned every single one of its 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

I could discuss this book for hours and still not be finished talking about it. In fact, even though this series is a Young Adult series, it would make a wonderful book club selection. 

I suggest that everyone reading this review should add this book immediately to their “TO BE READ” and “MUST READ” book lists. 
FAVOURITE QUOTES:

“They don’t understand. Uprooting us won’t kill us; it’ll only make us stronger, motivate us to fight harder. To push through the dirt and find the loving light of freedom.” – Joy 

“Fear is the greatest illusion of all. We must face it, and fight it, to be free.”   – Zephyr the Magnificent 

“With you, he seeks to push your mind to the brink of insanity until you can no longer differentiate the truth from the lies. Until your life is a living nightmare.” -Zee

“The more I learn about him, the more I want to murder him in his sleep.” – Joy 

– “A drunk man with a grudge is more dangerous than the naked sun.” – Zephyr The Magnificent 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


Christina L. Rozelle is a native of Richardson, Texas. She is a writer of dark Young Adult and adult fiction laced with light, doused with horror, tinged with romance and always an adventure. 

Christina’s Fansite 

Sign up for the “Rozelle Army” to be emailed directly about exciting upcoming events and promotions, or when new releases become available.

Facebook 

Twitter 

Goodreads 

One of the Best Young Adult Dystopian Science Fiction books I have read in YEARS! 5 Stars for THE TREEMAKERS by Christina L. Rozelle – BOOK REVIEW 


Title: THE TREEMAKERS  

Series: The Treemakers Trilogy: Book One 

Author: Christina L. Rozelle 

Type of Book: EBook 

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Science Fiction

Length: 288 pages 

Publisher: A Spark in the Dark Press 

ASIN: B00P49KVKG 

Price: $1.00 on Amazon or Free on Kindle Unlimited 

Release Date: December 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

WARNING: Although this book is labeled as “Young Adult,” this book is not suitable for younger readers. There are themes that exist in this book that make it appropriate only for mature audiences. For example, it contains scenes of abuse as well as death of some characters. In my opinion, this book is only appropriate for readers age sixteen and older. 


Once in a while you come across an Indie author that you can’t believe has not been discovered yet by a major publisher. Christina L. Rozelle is one of those rare authors. I am 100% sure that once a major publisher discovers this trilogy, they will be signing her up right away. If not, they are REALLY bad at their job. 


Superficially this looks like a typical Young Adult Dystopian story, but once you begin reading, it quickly becomes apparent that it is so much more. 

The characters are so well written that is nigh on impossible not to get caught up in their story. 

Everything about this book is amazing. Christina L. Rozelle truly has a gift and I am extremely impressed at how vivid her descriptions are and how I was instantly able to form a highly detailed picture in my mind of what both the Tree Factory and what each of the characters looked like. In fact, this book would make an excellent movie which I truly believe would make the film company that produces it millions of dollars. 

Even though this book is classified as Young Adult, I think it holds a much broader appeal. Anyone who loves a great story with incredible depth will fall in love with this book. 

The phrase “unable to put down” is often used to describe good books, but it is overused. When reading THE TREEMAKERS, I was literally unable to put it down. I read the entire book within 24 hours and immediately started reading THE SOULTAKERS which is the second book in the series. 

I loved the fact that this book was unlike most “Young Adult” novels in which the main character spends much of her time swooning over some hot guy. This book is much more realistic. 


If you were to spend your day as a slave – working your young fingers to the bone, being offered only the barest minimum amount of food and water to keep you alive, how could you possibly waste any of your precious energy on romantic interests? 

Sixteen-year-old Joy Montgomery is the daughter of Zephyr the Magnificent. He was a great magician, but now that he is dead, Joy has been sent to the Tree Factory. The Superiors run the factory with an iron fist and all the workers are orphaned children. Children who do not perform adequately are sent to the cannibal tribe that lives far away. 

They are the Greenleigh orphans. The children build 

mechanical trees for the colony of Bygonne, so their world behind The Wall can breathe another day. 

To go outside is to subject yourself to a horrific death by suffocation. The world’s air no longer contains enough oxygen for people to survive outside. 

Despite the abuse at the hands of the evil Superiors and the horrific living conditions, Joy is somehow able to hold onto hope and she hatches a plan to get not only herself, but all of the children to “Paradise.”


No matter how I describe this book, I am sure that I am not doing it justice. No matter how amazing I make THE TREEMAKERS sound, it is one hundred times better than that. This is a book (and series) that should be added to the “To Be Read” list of absolutely everyone who loves Dystopian fiction with phenomenal world-building, well written characters and a strong female lead. 

This book has earned the highest rating possible which is 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Purchase this book online at: 

Amazon.com  

Amazon.ca 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Christina L. Rozelle is a native of Richardson, Texas. She is a writer of dark YA and adult fiction laced with light, doused with horror, tinged with romance and always an adventure. 

Goodreads 

Christina’s Fansite

Sign up for the “Rozelle Army” to be emailed directly about exciting upcoming events and promotions, or when new releases become available.

Facebook 

Twitter 


5 Spooky Stars for GRETEL by Christopher Coleman – BOOK REVIEW 


Title: GRETEL

Author: Christopher Coleman 

Type of Book: EBook 

Length: 297 pages

Genre: Horror 

Release Date: October 31, 2015

ASIN: B01605OOL4

Price: $3.03 USD 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
GRETEL is a dark and twisted tale that examines the deepest, darkest and most evil parts of the human psyche. 

I think the cover of GRETEL is absolutely perfect. The blueish colour draws the eye and urges them to look at the book. The twisted trees give off a creepy and scary vibe and, the font used for the title adds a touch of mystery as does the light coming from the group. 

As you can probably guess by the title, this book is an updated, modern day version of the fairy tale of “Hansel and Gretel.” However, it definitely strays from the storyline that most people know. This is good, otherwise this book would not be very interesting at all.

As you might expect, this dark and twisted tale features the brother/sister pair: Hansel and Gretel. But, the character names as well as the fact that a “witch” lives in a nearby forest are the only real similarities to the original fairy tale. This story is a thousand times better and also a thousand times more twisted. 

Anika Morgan had gone to visit her elderly father for a ten day trip and was happy to be heading home to her own life and to her children. 

Anika’s life revolved around her husband, Heinrich, her fourteen year old daughter, Gretel and her eight year old son, Hansel and she was content with the way her life was playing out. 

Their life was not one of opulence or of abundance, but they were happy. They had their small house and they had some land to call their own and Anika knew that they were more fortunate than many others who lived in the Backwoods. 

But, Anika never made it home from her father’s house – a trip that should have only taken a few hours turned into the most gruelling, horrific and long time of her life. 

Gretel wanted to have faith that her mother would be found one day, but as time wore on, it became harder and harder to stay optimistic. Add to that, the fact that her father had fallen ill and you get the eerie sense that something bad is about to happen. 

This modern take on an old classic is extremely well written and readers will be riveted. The author, Christopher Coleman, does a fabulous job of creating characters that are so realistic that the reader will become invested in their trials and tribulations and will not be able to put the book down until they know what happens next. 

There have been quite a few books written in the past few years that are based on the fairy tales we all grew up with. I have read a few of them and unfortunately I always seem to decipher the entire plot before I have even read the first half of the book. I find this very frustrating. As an avid reader it seems to happen all the time. This book does NOT follow that pattern which is a huge plus in my opinion. 

This book will have readers riveted to their tablet screens and they will be unable to put it down. The action and emotion will find its way deep into the reader’s heart and mind and Gretel’s character will stay with readers long after the book’s conclusion. 

I give GRETEL a rating of 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 


Check out the book trailer: 

https://youtu.be/VPf8GO9_C9I 


FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Most of them she killed while they slept. Many were buried on this very property. Sadly, none of their innards were used for blending.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Christopher Coleman lives in Maryland with his wife and two children. He received his degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland and has been writing professionally for over five years. GRETEL is his debut novel.

To stay in touch with him, subscribe to his newsletter or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads
Visit his website: 

http://www.christophercolemanauthor.com 

3.5 Stars for CATALYST by Marc Johnson – BOOK REVIEW

Title: CATALYST 

Author: MARC JOHNSON 

Series: The Passage of Hellsfire: Book One 

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Bryan Zee 

Length: 9 Hours and 56 minutes 

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Release Date: February 12, 2016 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

What an absolutely stunning cover. In fact, it was the cover that drew me to this audiobook. The description cemented my desire to listen. 

So, did this audiobook live up to my expectations? 

Yes and No. 

The plot was your typical fantasy, coming-of-age adventure where the ordinary boy turns out to have extraordinary powers. 

There are (of course) elves, dwarves, ogres, wizards, a beautiful princess and even a dragon. There is also the prerequisite evil wizard who is hell-bent on taking over the world. 

I admit that the main character in this book certainly has a unique name. His name is “Hellsfire.” I was extremely skeptical of such an odd name choice when I started listening to this audiobook, but it actually works. As the story goes on you get used to the name and it eventually sounds completely natural as the lead character’s name. This is largely due to the excellent narration by Bryan Zee. 

When Hellsfire discovers that he has the gift of fire magic, he knows that he will need to learn to control it. He sets out a quest to do just that. 

During his quest he meets several interesting characters and becomes embroiled in an epic battle to save his world. 

This plot is overdone. There are literally thousands of books that consist of this same storyline; of course the details, characters and settings are always different, but readers and/or listeners can easily predict what will happen. I hate that. I like to be surprised and unfortunately this audiobook’s storyline did not contain any surprises. 

The ending of this book sets up the story for the second book in the series, however, I felt that the author took some large liberties to expand the story into a series. 

The narrator was terrific. Bryan Zee emotes very well and he did an admirable job of trying to keep the listener engaged in the story. I give the narration 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

However, I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I am hoping that the second audiobook in this series contains the unexpected plot twists that were missing in CATALYST

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION: (From the author’s website)

For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.

Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world.

Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.

Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.

In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Marc Johnson has moved a lot since his parents divorced when he was two. He also can’t answer a straight question and has developed a taste for sarcastic wit over the years. Probably also for the same reason.

He hasn’t won any awards, but he does have a deep knowledge of Transformers, Star Trek,and The Twilight Zone–his top three geeky loves. 

He writes because he loves stories and hopes to one day have written something successful as a movie, TV show, comic, book, magazine, and play.

Marc Johnson also loves to game, whether it be video, card, or board. He loves to test his mind in the challenges they bring…until the zombie, alien, or robot apocalypse comes.  

5 Stars well deserved for TŌRU: WAYFARER RETURNS by Stephanie R. Sorensen – BOOK REVIEW


Title: TŌRU: WAYFARER RETURNS 

Series: A SAKURA STEAM SERIES NOVEL: Book One

Author: Stephanie R. Sorensen

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Alternate Historical Fiction 

Length: 257 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9969323-1-8

Price: $16.95 

Publisher: Palantir Press 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
FROM THE BACK COVER: 

A nation encircled by enemies.

A noblewoman with everything to lose. 

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save. 

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial virtues decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures. 

Tōru, a shipwrecked fisherman rescued by American traders, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come. 
MY REVIEW:

Firstly, I feel compelled to talk about the absolutely stunning cover of this book. It is gorgeous, and obviously I am not the only one who thinks so. The cover won a gold star award from the Book Designer website. 


There will probably be some debate as to exactly what genre this book belongs. Is it Alternate Historical Fiction? Is it Steampunk? Is it somehow both? Or neither? My answer to those questions is that it is all of the above. With the addition of dirigibles, it clearly enters the realm of Steampunk, but since it is set in an actual period of our world’s history, this takes it away from the Steampunk genre and instead into the realm of alternate historical fiction. All in all, the genre does not really matter. It is the story that matters and the story is superb.  
The action begins on the very first page of this book, as does the reader’s love affair with the character of Tōru. 

Anyone who knows anything at all about historic Japan knows that it is a history filled with culture and customs that can be difficult for even the most seasoned writer to navigate. The fact that this is author Stephanie R. Sorensen’s first published novel and that she has done such a tremendous job of bringing the Victorian Japanese era to life while still preserving the dignity and love of Emperor and Country to life is nothing short of brilliant. 

Purists may disagree, but I loved this book. The way the author chose to use actual historic facts, policies and people as the basis for creating a new and radically different history is awe-inspiring. 

This is a book that needs to be read. There are many ideas in it’s pages that reflect some modern day dilemmas. Tōru not only wants to protect Japan from being overthrown by the Americans, he loves his homeland deeply and wants to improve the lives of it’s people. 

Tōru not only brought new technologies to Japan, but he also brought new ideas, and not just about industrial and Militaria change, he wanted to see societal change as well. 

For a culture that had not changed in centuries, it was difficult to accept the new technologies, but it was even more difficult to accept that change to their way of life was also necessary for Japan to thrive as a nation. 

“You need the lowly as well as the great made strong and educated and committed to strengthening our country.” 

These words may have been quoted from this work of fiction, but that does not make them any less true. Maybe it is time that the leaders of both the United States and Canada listened to Tōru – The Wayfarer. I’m 100% sure that there are lessons in this book that relate to us all. 

This is the first book in the “Sakura Steam Series”. I am now following author Stephanie R. Sorensen on Goodreads and Amazon as well as on her website because I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. 

I am eager to find out what happens next, not only with the Japanese country as a whole, but also what happens in the lives of Tōru, Masuyo, Jiro, Lords Aya and Tōmatsu, Lord Abe and even the Shogun and the distant Emperor. Whatever happens, I am convinced that it will be entertaining and extremely well written. 

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free did not influence my rating in any way. 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie R. Sorensen is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,000 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She likes Her Victorian attire spiced with a little Neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible. 

To sign up for news of future books by the author or to contact her, visit http://www.stephaniersorensen.com  

Check out the publishers website for more great books.

http://www.palantirpress.com