5 Enthusiastic Stars for MERITORIUM by JOEL OHMAN – BOOK REVIEW & BLOG TOUR

Welcome to the Meritorium Tour

Author Joel Ohman

Meritorium

<MY REVIEW>

Title: MERITORIUM

Author: Joel Ohman

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction

Length: 262 pages

Release Date: September 27,2015

Publisher: Whitefox Publishing Services

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

“More often than not, change comes because of little choices we make daily. It comes because of a patient and faithful commitment to a different future, and the willingness to do all of the little things, the unglamorous, the dirty, the mundane. It doesn’t usually come about because of one dramatic sacrifice, which is easier in many ways.”

This is the second book in a wonderful new Young Adult Dystopian Fiction series written by the extremely talented Joel Ohman. *** See the post before this one to read my previous 5 Star review of Book One: MERITROPOLIS.

MERITORIUM begins one week after the end of MERITROPOLIS. Charley, Sandy, Orson, Grigor and a group of approximately one hundred other Meritropolis residents have left the city. “Those not still with them had either succumbed to injuries inflicted in the battle of Meritropolis or had simply found the long trek through the wilderness too difficult and turned back, intent on begging their way back to the leeks and cucumbers of Meritropolis.”

The ruler of Meritropolis is traditionally the person with the highest score. At present, that person is Charley. Meritropolis’s citizens all had their scores encoded into their DNA and their score number appears on their arm. The higher the score, the higher the person’s wealth and social status.

Charley wants to put an end to the scoring system, once and for all. However, he is learning that it is easier said than done. “It was one thing to complain about the System in Meritropolis while in a classroom, but he was fast learning the truth of all political dissidents: it’s easy to point out the problems of the other side; it’s much harder to find the solution.”

Orson is part of Charley’s group. He used to be the leader of Meritropolis and his father was the person who created ‘The System.’ The group is travelling to find and take him down. They believe that Orson’s father is located in the next nearest city: called Meritorium, so that is their destination.

Author Joel Ohman has created a believable and maybe even inevitable future for mankind. The Event that decimated their world came about because “…someone – or more likely, a group of someone’s – unaffiliated with any sort of pre-Event government that we know of, caused it. Because of that we still don’t know what exactly their intentions were, or even if it was planned. But we do know that they released these chemical reactions into the wild and – the wild went wild…”

The consequences of these chemicals being released include erratic weather, and strange animal combinations, such as the Bion that Charley fought in the first book.

What the heck is a Bion, you ask? Well that is a new creature with DNA from two different animals that has combined to create an entirely new species. In the case of the Bion, it is a combination of a bison and a lion. There are no animals left that are pure, but there are thousands (perhaps millions) of newly combined animals. For example, the group had been eating Durkey, which is a combination of turkey and deer and Charlie had been hunting a llamabill which is a combination of a llama and a spoonbill bird. While these combinations must sound ridiculous, they come across in the story as perfectly plausible.

The group’s chosen path to MERITORIUM is fraught with danger and they face many unique and terrifying situations along the way.

The author has included some very interesting observations about human nature in this book. These observations can apply not only to the world the story is written in, but also apply to our world today. For example: “Sometimes it’s easier to wish you were in charge than to actually be in charge…”

Will Charley and his group survive the the trek and the man-eating plants on the way to Meritorium? Will they find Orson’s father? And what are they going to do about the gladiator style games that use Meritorium’s low scores as bait and to fight the animal-combinations for the entertainment of others?

I love the fact that Joel Ohman employed an artist for this book and that he has included small sketches of these bizarre animals along with the story.

This book is packed chock-full of adventure, strange creatures, battles between good and evil and even a bit of romance all set in the most unique post-apocalyptic world that I have ever had the pleasure to read about.

I absolutely recommend this book. It is categorized as a Young Adult novel, but it would be a complete shame if adult readers did not also have a chance to read this series. This series has the potential to be as widely read and universally loved as “The Hunger Games.”

Joel Ohman has not only created an incredibly unique and vivacious world, but he also has a talent for creating both memorable and believable characters that readers will fall in love with. This book is a skillfully written thrill-ride that will keep readers engrossed right to the final page.

I rate MERITORIUM as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In addition to the pure entertainment value of this book, it can also be seen as a warning. One of my favourite quotes from the book is:
“I think that when we reduce life to its physical components, mechanize it, act like we’re nothing more than the sum total of what we can see – a wing, a leg, an eye, or whatever – and we bring it under human control and design it, then the result is that life is engineered in man’s image and not God’s.”

With the way that the science of genetic engineering is heading, it is not inconceivable that creatures and mutated plants such as those in this book will exist in the near future. This book can be seen as a warning that sometimes science can go too far. Whether the current generation of humans will heed the warning is still to be seen.

Something else that I loved about this book was the author’s use of uncommon words. For example, he uses the word “venator” which is the Latin word for hunter. Building a reader’s vocabulary is always beneficial.

If you do not get sucked into this book then I suggest you ‘give your head a shake’. It is an amazing read and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

“But remember this: dying for something is easy, because you get glory, and then it’s over. But living for something – that’s the hard thing.”

Meritorium3dhard

About the Book

Under the System everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die.

Charley has escaped from Meritropolis…

but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.

Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?

The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the best selling Meritropolis.

About the Author

Joel Ohman

Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis–“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Learn more about Joel here:
JoelOhman.com

Get notified of new books here:
Meritropolis.com

Follow Joel on Twitter here:
Twitter.com/JoelOhman

Connect with Joel on Facebook here:
Facebook.com/joeljonathan

About the Prizes

Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter for this tour here! The tour prize is a $75.00 gift card to Amazon! Think of all the books you can buy with that!

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QUOTES I LIKED:

“It was an unsettling sensation to be transported so quickly from predator to prey.”

“Charley couldn’t help but think how absurd he must look. If only Grigor or Sandy could see him now – or much worse, Hank or even Commander Orson – they would be in hysterics. Here he was, the highest High Score of Meritropolis, the famous bull-lion-bion slayer, out to provide food for the camp, and he was cowering in counterclockwise circles, from a bird…”

“Add in mankind’s tendency to weaponize anything and everything, and go to war at the slightest provocation, and you have the recipe for what is now known as the Event.”

“Our past is forever intertwining with our present, affecting our future, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can’t change the past, but we can change the way it affects our future.”

“The past changes us, but the present can change us too. What we decide to do in the present will change who we become in the future. The present becomes the past, the future becomes the present. Life continues.”

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5 Big Stars for THE END OF SEEING by Christy Collins – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: THE END OF SEEING

Author: Christy Collins

Type of Book: Softcover

Length: 190 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: August 23, 2015

Publisher: Xoum Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1-921134-62-3 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-921134-63-0 (EBook) 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review was not a requirement of receiving this book, but authors and publishers always appreciate honest reviews. 

THE END OF SEEING is the winner of the 2015 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize. 

“The buildings rise from the rain-blackened streets and office workers slip by leaving pieces of conversation in the air…”

Ana. Poor Ana. She has to be one of the unluckiest people alive. First, she loses her daughter in a tragic accident and next her photojournalist partner, Nick, goes missing and is presumed dead. 

Everyone, including the police and the rest of Nick’s family are convinced that he perished in a boating accident off the coast of Italy. 

But, no body has ever been found. Yes, his cellphone washed ashore, but there are lots of reasons his cellphone could be there without him.

Ana is determined to find out the truth and to prove that he is still alive. She sets out to follow his path and to trace his movements.

What she discovers along the way will surprise everyone.

This book is a literary masterpiece. 

It is written in delightfully descriptive prose that will resonate with readers of all ages. 

Ana’s desire to believe that Nick is still alive is 100% believable and totally understandable. I have always wondered how a person can possibly grieve and move on if no body is found. I believe that I would be just like Ana; thinking of all the possible (even if improbable) scenarios that could lead to someone’s disappearance. This is highlighted by Ana’s thoughts at the beginning of the book:

“We’re you on that boat? Did you get off alive? Did you think: now’s my chance to disappear, to escape the grief and guilt of Mia’s death? Did you mingle in a crowd, jump on a bus, and head for the mountains, cross the border on foot, without papers, like others on board had no doubt planned to do? Maybe you were unable to resist the power of your own story, seeing how far you could get, how long you could survive – earning black money or none at all, nameless and untraceable. Or are you maddened by an ordeal at sea? Perhaps you don’t know your own name… Perhaps you’re asleep in a youth hostel, bed springs creaking above and below you. Perhaps you’re dreaming of running a very long way without anything to stop you. While I, awake in the middle of the night, am dreaming still of you.”

The subject matter may seem bleak and dark at times, but the same can be said of reality. Everyone experiences times of darkness in their lives. Christy Collins has eloquently captured both the beauty and despair of the human condition and the endurance of hope when all seems lost. 

Christy Collins has an uncanny ability to say quite a bit by using few words. For example; interspersed amongst the details of Ana’s journey are random memories that pop into her mind. Here is one such memory: 

“I remember a summer holiday: no-one on the beach but the two of us. Evening waves repeated themselves softly on the shore. Beginning with the soles of my feet, you reminded me I was alive. Later: salt and sand swilled down the drain in the cracked-tiled bathroom in a cheap hotel. You reminded me again.”

Nowhere in the above narrative does it say that Ana and Nick made love, but the reader knows that this is what occurred. Also nowhere in this description does it mention how old they were when this event took place, yet, somehow, the way it is written evokes a vision in the reader’s mind of Nick and Ana in their youthful, carefree past; before adult and familial responsibilities changed their lives. Only a highly skilled and supremely talented author can say so much with so few words. 

I highly recommend this book and rate it is 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Visit http://seizureonline.com/shop/the-end-of-seeing/ for more information as well as links to buy this amazing book online. 

  • FAVOURITE QUOTES FROM “THE END OF SEEING”

“Sometimes I felt like we were shipwreck survivors, washed up in Suburbia – living day to day and waiting for the rescuers to come and deliver us back to the country where our real lives were going on without us.”

“I look around the [hotel] room, not really expecting to find anything: hotel rooms like this one have no memory.”

“I’m on a mission no-one else believes in, and I’m not even sure I believe it myself. What was I expecting? Clues scrawled in blood on the hotel wall? Love letters jammed under sofa cushions: ‘Come find me, my love; we’ll both disappear’?”

“The day is clear and blue and emerald green. The smell of my sunscreen reminds me of summers past.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

  
Christy Collins is a writer, reader, film reviewer and PhD student at the University of Tasmania. The End of Seeing is published by Seizure and was a joint winner of the Viva la Novella Prize 2015.

To learn more about Christy Collins visit https://memoryanddistance.wordpress.com/&nbsp;

5 Stars for ELECTRIC BLUES by Shaun O. McCoy – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

  
Title: ELECTRIC BLUES

Author: Shaun O. McCoy

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Gabrielle Olexa 

Length: 1 hour and 13 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction 

Release Date: November 2013

Publisher: Sisyphean Publications 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free copy of this audiobook through AudioBookBlast dot com in exchange for an honest review. 

PA3025 is an obsolete robot who was created to be a PA (Personal Assistant). Yes, he’s a robot … and he’s depressed. 

His “therapist” – a man named Knickers tells him that he needs to volunteer his services to someone who could never afford an actual personal assistant.

This is how he meets Madelaine, a partly-senile, half blind, old-school technophobe with two arthritic cats. 

Madelaine nicknames PA3025 “Arty” and the name sticks.

Arty helps Madelaine and Madelaine helps Arty and together they try to find meaning in their lives.

This audiobook was very different from other robot/android stories that I have read and/or listened to. Yes, it is technically a Science Fiction story, but it is more a story of what it means to be “alive” and the importance of purpose rather than the action/thriller type of story that is typical of the Science Fiction genre. 

Narrator Gabrielle Olexa does a ‘spot-on’ job as the voice of Madelaine. She is very believable as an elderly woman and her performance of Madelaine perfectly captured the nuances of an aging woman. The only small issue I had with the narration was that using a female narrator as the voice of Arty was a bit confusing. Until Arty’s “gender” was revealed I believed that PA3025 was a female robot model. Gabrielle Olexa was excellent as the voice of a robot who operated on logic and lacked emotion. She was convincing in her lack of emotional inflections. 

I feel that a rating of 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ is well deserved for ELECTRIC BLUES. 

I do want to comment on the audiobook cover. Cover art is the first thing a potential reader sees when deciding whether or not to pick up a book or audiobook to read the back cover. If the artwork is not relevant to the story or does not somehow reflect the audiobook’s genre, it is possible that potential readers are lost simply because they never bothered to read the book’s description. I think this could easily happen with ELECTRIC BLUES. The saxophone on the cover leads potential readers to think this book is about music.

However, on the author’s Facebook page I found an alternate cover for this book which is terrific. Here is what I found:

  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Shaun O. McCoy is the author of the popular HELLSONG series. More info about that series can be found at http://www.hellsongseries.com 

Shaun started out as a writer at an early age. He wrote (well, probably printed) his first full length novel in middle school. 

In his sophomore year of high school, Shaun traveled with his father and grandfather aboard the research vessel World Discoverer to the far off continent of Antarctica. 

At age 20, Shaun was struck with CSD, which put him in a coma and hospitalized him for two weeks. Upon recovery, he traveled to Florida to live on his aunt and uncle’s horse ranch in the hopes of regaining his constitution. 

It was there that he was introduced to ideas like discipline and cage fighting. Shaun has since competed in two cage style Mixed Martial Arts competitions, and he is the proud victor of both events. He is an avid chess fan and active tournament player. At one time he was ranked as the 79th chess player in the state of South Carolina. 

In 2010, Shaun began to pursue his life-long goal of becoming a professional writer. Even Hell Has Knights was his debut novel.

Check out Shaun’s Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/shaunomccoy&nbsp;

ABOUT THE NARRATOR: 

  
Gabrielle Olexa received a Bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education from the University of South Carolina in 2004. 

She says it was during an English class that the first seeds of interest in a career as an audiobook narrator were planted. When asked to read out loud in class, someone complimented her on her mellifluous voice. 

Gabrielle taught English in China before settling down with her husband, Phil in Charlotte. They now have one child. 

To learn more about narrator Gabrielle Olexa visit: 

http://www.sc.edu/uofsc/stories/2015/08_first_person_narrator.php#.VicOPlWs_CQ&nbsp;

On Twitter at: https://twitter.com/gabrielleolexa&nbsp;

5 Stars for BREAKDOWN: Season One by Jordan Quattlebaum – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

  
Title: BREAKDOWN: Season One

Author: Jordan Quattlebaum

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Mitchell Lucas 

Length: 5 hours and 5 minutes

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Release Date: July 24, 2015

Publisher: Jordan Quattlebaum 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book is a post-apocalyptic serial. This audiobook contains episodes 1 to 5. 

The best thing about this series is that the characters are regular people. 

Thomas Monroe’s life is a mess. He lost his wife and has never been the same. He tries not to let his daughter see just how messed up he is, but even though she is away at college, she knows. 

On his way to work at a low-paying, but emotionally satisfying job he gets a phone call from a prior client who is in the military. The call is a warning of impending chaos. 

Obviously Thom has no idea what to make of the phone call and when his car breaks down, the call is pushed to the back of his mind. He’s having a bad day and he figures that it can’t get any worse. 

Wow! Was he wrong!

The United States is hit by what appears to be an electromagnetic pulse, knocking the power grid almost completely offline. This means that anything that runs on electricity or is computer-based will no longer work. This includes every vehicle made in the last twenty years. 

Millions will die in the coming weeks and most of the country, including Thom is completely unprepared. Worst of all, his daughter’s college is located halfway across the state. She is all he has left and he has to get to her. 

But, the roads, cities and towns between have quickly devolved into terrifying warzone a. 

Listen to this suspenseful audiobook to follow along with Thom as he makes friends, outwits thugs, battles bandits, and struggles across the state to attempt to reunite with his daughter. 

Can an everyday, broken man survive the apocalypse? 

“Breakdown is a serial adventure. Think of it like listening to your favorite TV show, with a new episode released every three to four weeks. These episodes are not stand-alone books. Each season will be a stand-alone book containing to four to five episodes.” 

I was completely sucked into this story from the first few minutes of this audiobook. The characters are easy to relate to and it is easy to imagine yourself in Thom’s shoes. It brings to mind questions as to how you would react to each scenario that Thom must face on his quest to reach his daughter. As a parent, I can relate to his need to reach his child and his willingness to do whatever it takes to get to her. 

The narration is terrific. Pacing is perfect. Voices are realistic and easily distinguishable from one another. Mitchell Lucas does an outstanding job of conveying emotions and urgency. The narration alone deserves a 5 star rating. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Overall, the only thing about this audiobook that I did not like was that it had to end. I will be eagerly awaiting the release of the audiobook of BREAKDOWN: Season Two.

I give BREAKDOWN: Season One a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Fortunately, the author is currently offering a free copy of his new short story on his website at http://www.thequattlebaum.com&nbsp;

* I received a free copy of this audiobook through http://www.Audiobookblast.com in exchange for an honest review. 

 http://www.thequattlebaum.com&nbsp;
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Jordan Quattlebaum is a regular guy with a talent for writing fiction. He is married and has two children. 

He has a terrific website that I encourage everyone to check out at http://www.thequattlebaum.com&nbsp;

To learn more visit Jordan’s Quattlebaum Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/jordonquattlebaumauthor&nbsp;

5 Stars for BROKEN DOLLS by Tyrolin Puxty – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: BROKEN DOLLS

Series: Broken Dolls – Book One

Author: Tyrolin Puxty

Length: 175 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction 

Publication Date: December 14, 2015

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

EBook ISBN: 978-1-62007-929-4 

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-62007-931-7

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62007-930-0 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟 

First off I feel that I have to mention the stunningly gorgeous cover of this book. The “doll” is stylized and disjointed with a black wind-up type key in its right side. The choice of having the doll standing on a plush red heart that matches the colour of the doll’s dress mixed with the small black butterflies surrounding her gives a sense of something just not quite right about her surroundings. When you look closer, you realize that she is standing on a hinged piece of wood which is attached to a similar piece of wood located behind her. In fact, it looks like the two pieces fit tightly together with the doll flattened inside whenever it is closed. Also, I love that the book title, along with the author’s name are inside scroll work. The chosen font is perfect.

In fact, I had decided that I wanted to read this book solely based on the cover design. Once I read the description I was thrilled that the book sounded just as interesting as the book’s cover. 

“Slowly and silently, cries the dancing doll, meekly, angelically, she weeps for her soul.”

Ella used to be human, but she has no memories of that time. She is a doll … A broken doll. She has lived the past thirty years as a doll. She was “saved” from her human life and turned into a doll by the Professor. 

Ella lives in the attic and has been conditioned by the Professor to never try to leave it. 

When the Professor decides to make another doll Ella is excited. She has never had another doll to play with. She knows that when the new doll wakes up she will be devoid of memories, won’t even know her own name and will be disoriented, but Ella vows to help her adapt to her new life.

The new doll’s name is Lisa. When the Professor activates her, Ella asks her what she remembers and is shocked to find that not only does Lisa remember her own name, but that the majority of her memories are also intact. Another shock comes when Ella realizes that Lisa is mad. 

When the Professor’s granddaughter, Gabby arrives, the Professor tells Ella that they will become friends. 

But, what will happen to Lisa? Will Gabby somehow accept a talking doll? Is the Professor out of his mind? Is he evil? Or is he actually a saviour? How does he turn humans into dolls? And, why would he want to? 

For answers to the questions above as well as many more, you will need to read BROKEN DOLLS. 

You will not regret your decision to pick up this book. The only thing you might not like is that the story has to end eventually, but I am happy to report that this is the first book in a planned series. I will be eagerly awaiting the release of Tyrolin Puxty’s next book. 

The characters in this book are complex and believable and the concept of being changed from a living, breathing human into a doll is absolutely horrifying. Imagine never again feeling a fresh breeze on your face, never feeling the softness of grass under your feet and never being able to smell the distinctive aroma of fresh cut grass. These may seem minor things, but they are all significant parts of being human. 

Tyrolin Puxty has a wondrous gift for vivid descriptions that evoke emotional responses in the reader. For example, when describing a first visit to the ballet, she says: “The orchestra was like a romantic radioactive wave that wafted through the theatre, sending ripples of emotion through the audience. The dancers’ technique was flawless, impeccable, perfect. I loved how their eyes glistened when the audience cheered. I envied their heaving chests as they posed during the applause. I wanted the exquisitely crafted costumes that pressed into their flesh. THEY have a life.”

Not only is this book a great read but it also brings up many ethical questions such as: 

The dilemma of quantity vs quality of life

Is it better to die? Or live trapped in a dolls body?

Is he evil? Or is he a saint and a saviour?

Was does “to live” really mean? Is it life if you don’t breathe? Is it life if you are stripped of your memories?

At what point do we cease to be human? What if you were in a car accident and you lost both legs and both arms and they were replaced with prosthetics? Would this make you less human? 

For all the reasons outlined above and for the sheer entertainment value, I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

To find out more about this phenomenal read go to: https://curiosityquills.com/books/broken-dolls/  

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:

“If she’s going to be a black hole of misery that absorbs my happiness, then she belongs in the shadows!” 

“The storm intensifies. Sticks and other small pieces keep flinging against the window. It’s really creeping me out. I keep imagining a demonic deer hovering outside, saliva dripping from its snarl as it headbutts the pane. Why a demonic deer? No clue. Deer are terrifying. I’ve never even been able to finish ‘Bambi’.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
Tyrolin Puxty is only 23 years old but she has already accomplished quite a bit in a short time. She was awarded “Australian of the Year” in both 2014 and 2015. She has also worked as a paralegal, appeared in television shows, been hired for product photography, modelled, become a Justice of the Peace, started her own club for school-age children who are interested in the arts, worked for a successful magazine company, published a book, hugged a koala and had a show ride collapse on her head. 

To learn more about this author visit http://www.tyrolinpuxty.com&nbsp;

Zaria Fierce Book 2 Cover Reveal – Release Date: November 6, 2015

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland SwordAbout the Book:

Title: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

Release Date: November 6, 2015 (11/06/2015)

Author: Keira Gillett

Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan

Narrator: Michele Carpenter

Series: Zaria Fierce Trilogy, Book 2

Summary in a Nut-Shell: Zaria Fierce must undo the damage she and her friends caused when they accidentally aided Olaf in his quest to release the dragon, Koll.

Full Summary: If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

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Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Praise for Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest (Book 1):

“Are you in the mood for an old fashioned magical jaunt? Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett is a classic “perilous adventure” book for middle grade readers.” Jennifer Bardsley, The YA Gal

“A captivating blending of fantasy storytelling with today’s technology. At the base of this tale is deep, abiding friendship that stands the tests of time, adventure and even danger.” Kathy Haw, Goodreads Review

“A great book with a lovely story and amazing characters. It’s a fantasy and adventure book that will be the delight of Narnia fans and those looking for a bit of Norwegian folklore thrown into it.” Ner, A Cup of Coffee and a Book

“If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure dipped in fantasy, look no further. This book kept me on my toes with its many cliffhangers and plot twists; it was quite hard to put down at times.” Meredith, All ‘Bout Them Books and Stuff

“I love when a story jumps right in and hooks me like this one did. I highly recommend you look into it if you are in the mood for a fun adventure. I also recommend that you get it for any book loving middle schooler you know.” Emily, Midwestern Book Nerd

Illustrations by Eoghan Kerrigan:

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Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

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Pre-order on Amazon: E-book

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (zariafierce)

Eoghan Kerrigan IllustratorIllustrator Bio: Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures. He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects. He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website: http://eoghankerrigan.blogspot.ie/

Social Media: Twitter (eoghankerrigan), Facebook (eoghankart)

Michele CarpenterNarrator Bio: Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting. She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey. Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too. It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read. “We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website: http://www.michele-carpenter.com/

Social Media: Twitter (michelecvoice), Facebook (michelecarpentervoice), YouTube (micheleyoutube)

5 STARS for SPANNERS: Fountain of Youth by Jon Mass – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: SPANNERS: The Fountain of Youth

Author: Jon Maas

Type of Book: Softcover 

Length: 371 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

* I received a free softcover copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is simply BRILLIANT! 

The story is unique and the characters are utterly fascinating. 

“Spanners: Fountain of Youth” is a MUST READ book for lovers of Science Fiction as well as those who love alternative history stories.

Have you ever heard of Juan Ponce de Leon and his quest for the Fountain of Youth? 

Most people have at least a vague idea of the story. In fact, if I remember correctly, there is a spring in Florida that some believe, even to this day, is the fabled ‘Fountain of Youth.”

Well, this is so NOT that story. This is something unique. Readers are in for a treat.  

Jon Maas has introduced “Spanners” to the world.

Humans live (on average) from zero to eighty years consecutively, but Spanners don’t. 

Spanners have different life spans from the rest of us. Some Spanners live their lives in reverse, some live only a matter of months and some are literally immortal. 

There are hundreds of different types of Spanners and each type is unique. In addition to their varying life spans, they also have various powers. 

Just like regular humans there are “good” Spanners and there are “evil” Spanners. But, how do you stop an evil Spanner if he can’t be killed? 

The ancient Arawalk Indians thought they had the perfect solution; bury them deep underground in a stone casket and leave them to spend eternity in a box under the earth. 

But what happens when someone uncovers that casket and sets the being inside free?

You will need to read “Spanners: Fountain of Youth” to find out. 

I can vouch that this book will completely suck you in. It is literally impossible to put down. In fact, I suggest you set aside a couple days and clear your schedule of everything other than reading this book YES, IT IS THAT GOOD. 

Not only is the story fascinating, but the plot is incredible as well. The variety of different Spanners that Jon Maas has created are AWESOME. These ‘beings’ should come across as ridiculous or at least as unbelievable, but somehow the author has made their very existence seem perfectly logical and highly believable. The different variations of Spanners and their “class” is so well written that readers may start to wonder if perhaps there are Spanners in their own neighbourhood. 

As far as I am concerned this book is a MUST READ and I quite happily and with complete confidence rate it as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

I am also excited about the fact that this book has been made into a movie and I can’t wait to go see it. To watch the movie trailer go to:

The movie has won multiple awards since it’s release and I am hoping that it will be screened here in Ontario, Canada soon. 

Check out http://www.spannersthemovie.com&nbsp;

  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Jon Maas was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from Stanford University with degrees in Biology and History, he’s earned a living as a Musician, Peace Corps Volunteer, Standup Comedian, TV Producer and Web Designer. 

His first novel, “City of gods – Hellenica” has been well received, and his second book, ‘Spanners: The Fountain of Youth’ won the award for ‘Best Young Adult Fiction’ at the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, as well as ‘Best Science Fiction’ at the 2015 IndieReader Discovery awards.

‘Spanners: The Fountain of Youth’ is the sequel to the independent movie ‘Spanners,’ which is currently on the film festival circuit – http://www.spannersthemovie.com

He has released his third book this year, ‘Flare,’ and it has been well-received so far. He is working on another book, which he hopes to release by December 2015.

He writes on his bus commute to and from work, and I am really glad he does.

   
 
  

5 BIG STARS for VALKYRIE: THE ROAD by Tony Bowman – BOOK REVIEW

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VALKYRIE: THE ROAD
A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Horror

Author: Tony Bowman

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Horror

Length: 334 pages

ISBN: 9781515051671

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free autographed softcover copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is NOT your typical apocalypse. There have been books that describe a virus wiping out most of humanity, a multitude of books that describe the zombie apocalypse, and there
have been books that describe the economy collapsing or an EMP pulse that returns North America to the time of the pioneers. This book does not subscribe to any of these potential apocalyptic scenarios. Instead, Tony Bowman has imagined a supernatural wave of horror that sweeps across the nation.

Demons, vampires, werewolves, witches, voodoo practitioners, ghouls and cannibals fill the pages of this novel.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Nope! Somehow Tony Bowman has made the existance of these creatures 100% believable. In fact, their supernatural origins are almost irrelevant to the main story. You will have to read this book to “see” for yourself what I mean.

The characters are superbly written and each one has their own fully realized backstory and readers will find themselves invested in their welfare. I absolutely loved the characters and am hard-pressed to choose a single favorite. In fact, characters who do not have huge parts in the story are still written with depth and these characters are also memorable.

Cole is human. He drives a truck. On the eve of the apocalypse he finds himself in a truck stop with people he doesn’t know. Fortunately for him, one of these people is a young genius (nicknamed Monkey) who is prepared for just such an event.

Perhaps the most significant possession Monkey has is called Valkyrie – a large truck. But, this truck is far from an average eighteen wheeler. This truck could be more accurately described as a rolling fortress rather than just a mere truck.

Fast forward quite a few years. Cole and Monkey and the Valkyrie have figured out how to survive in the new world.

The demons have mostly stepped back from the running of the world. Vampires reign supreme in the cities, but outside the cities cannibals, werewolves and witches have all claimed territories of their own.

Nowhere is safe. Humans are treated like either slaves or cattle, but the crew of the Valkyrie have figured out how to make themselves indispensable to those in power.

The vampires believe that the crew are collaborators. Werewolves avoid them because of Valkyrie’s firepower. The voodoo priest also believes they are collaborators. The cannibals want to kill and eat the crew and seek to take possession of Valkyrie.

No one seems to suspect that the crew may have their own agenda. But, maybe the vampires do suspect, because Valkyrie has a new crew member … one of the most powerful vampires in the city.

Can they keep their true purpose hidden or is this the end for the Valkyrie and her crew? And what about humanity? Are humans doomed to extinction?

I am astounded by how much I enjoyed this book. This is a MUST READ for everyone who loves post-apocalyptic fiction, paranormal fiction and/or horror fiction.

I give VALKYRIE: THE ROAD a hearty 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second book by Tony Bowman that I have had the pleasure to read and it will definitely not be the last. I am now a fan of author Tony Bowman.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Tony Bowman is the author of four full-length novels as well as many short stories. His short story collection entitled “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things” is an amazingly well written collection of seventeen short horror stories.

Tony currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sara and a hundred pound Catahoula Leopard dog.

To learn more about Tony Bowman and his books, visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080065.Tony_Bowman

Check out his blog at:
http://thattonybowman.blogspot.ca

5 Stars for MORGUE DREAMS AND CURIOUSER THINGS by Tony Bowman – BOOK REVIEW

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MORGUE DREAMS and CURIOUSER THINGS

Author: Tony Bowman

Type of Book: Autographed Softcover

Genre: Short Stories, Horror

Length: 111 pages

Release Date: April 2014

ISBN: 9781499230794

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free softcover copy of “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things’ from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a collection of short horror fiction stories. Some of the stories were published previously in various magazines, but this is the first time they have been published as a collection.

It always amazes me how much a talented writer can pack into just a few pages of text. The seventeen stories in this collection are all exceptionally well written and even though most of them are not more than a couple pages long, somehow the author is able to suck the reader into the story.

Stories such as “Everybody’s Doing It” show the dangers of modern technology as well as the vanity and folly of people in today’s superficial world and the lengths people will go to despite the potential cost to themselves.

The story “CRITICISM” begins with: “I hate stories about vampires. No, that’s not quite strong enough. I loathe and despise stories about vampires. God knows that the bookshelves are packed full of the damnable things these days, and I loathe and despise every single one.” I love this beginning. Even though the author gives away some of the plot by making this statement, I was drawn into the story. It takes talent to say so much, with such few words and talent is something that author Tony Bowman has in abundance.

Morlocks, vampires, witches, private investigators, sexy neighbors, and much more can be found in this superbly written collection of horror themed short stories.

“These are very special low fat brownies I made for the local Weight Watchers group, Ray. Each little square has over eight thousand calories and is just as addictive as a syringe full of heroin…”

With lines like the one above, readers will enjoy the author’s delightfully wicked sense of humor that goes hand-in-hand with his diabolical mind.

I rate this collection as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend buying this book.

This is my first experience with reading anything by author, Tony Bowman, but after devouring these stories I can assure you that I will be looking to read more works by this author.

In fact, I am about to start reading VALKYRIE: THE ROAD which is a “Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Horror” which is also written by Tony Bowman.

QUOTES:

“Think about it, I just downed a gallon and a half of your pal’s blood – it’s gotta go somewhere. I don’t have a wooden leg.”

“I used the lid of a garbage can to cut off her head.”

“You wouldn’t believe how many body parts I dispose of on a daily basis. Fingers, eyes… hell, in lawn mowing season I must incinerate thirty toes a day.”

“Hilda had never liked cell phones. Leashes and leeches she would say: they tied you down and sucked away your money. What she wouldn’t have given for one of the little plastic boxes now.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Tony Bowman is the author of four full-length novels as well as many short stories. His short story collection entitled “Morgue Dreams and Curiouser Things” is an amazingly well written collection of seventeen short horror stories.

Tony currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Laurie, his daughter, Sara and a hundred pound Catahoula Leopard dog.

To learn more about Tony Bowman and his books, visit https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080065.Tony_Bowman

Check out his blog at:
http://thattonybowman.blogspot.ca

5 Stars for FOEHAMMER by Duncan Campbell – BOOK REVIEW

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FOEHAMMER

Author: Duncan Campbell

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Horror

Length: 281 pages

Release Date: December 17, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free softcover copy of Foehammer from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Duncan Campbell has created an interesting and varied cast of unique characters. These individuals come from all over the globe and know nothing about each other, yet the fate of nations may be in their hands.

This book starts at mach speed and never lets up. Readers are taken on the ride of a lifetime. This book is impossible to put down. I was so wrapped up in the story that everything else was put on hold while I read this book.

When I read the initial description of this book on Goodreads I was interested, but, have to admit that the description does NOT do this book justice. Here is the description that is currently posted on Goodreads:

“Twenty years from now, the ice caps melt and three sinister creatures rise from the slush. A virus breaks out in a couple of Arctic naval bases, and then, even more strangely, inside the White House. The guards become animated corpses, and rescue teams are rendered helpless by a mysterious trance effect. Most US citizens seem unconcerned, but some people are watching. Underpaid academic Dr. Weaver has documents that refer to something similar happening in the time of Christ, and a group of billionaires seek him out and set him to work. With the help of a super-hacker he manages to track down a veteran who’s not susceptible to mind control. But this Sean “Jester” Solberg character is a wild card—an aggressive loner who lives with the immigrants outside the cities. The next recruit is even more unusual. Curtis Ferguson is the son of a couple of anthropologists and reportedly the world’s most powerful witch doctor. Into this bizarre, dysfunctional group is thrust Jodie Goodwin, a down-to-earth Texan girl with exceptional shooting skills. The newly formed team creep into the bunkers deep under the capital and encounter mankind’s ancient enemies. They end up fighting for survival and soon discover that their lives depend on the powers of the young, but untested, shaman.”

The above description is good and does offer a reasonable synopsis of “Foehammer” BUT this book is so much better than the synopsis leads readers to expect. Because of the complexity of the storyline and the characters, it would be impossible to summarize this reading experience in only a few words. However, I will use this review as a platform to try to explain to potential readers why I believe they should read FOEHAMMER.

Firstly, yes, this book could (technically) be considered ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ fiction, but it is definitely not the type of post-apocalyptic fiction that readers of that genre have come to expect. Instead, this book is unique and, as far as I am concerned; unique is good.

The leading characters in this book are not normal. What I mean by this is that the group of characters that Duncan Campbell has created are not your typical heroic figures. These people are flawed – some are so flawed that if you were to come across these people in everyday life, you would most likely cross the street to avoid coming anywhere near them. However, it is exactly these character flaws that make for compelling reading.

Duncan Campbell has also included social commentary into his story. When the President of the United States disappears for weeks there is very little news coverage and citizens do not seem concerned at all that the “leader of the free world” has vanished. The most watched (and reported on) events include reality television and celebrity gossip. This prompts the quote: “Maybe the rumors that the news networks didn’t have any real journalists were true.” This is a thinly veiled jab at today’s society and the skewed priorities of people in general.

This book is a mixture of horror, science fiction, action and thriller.

This is the first book in a planned trilogy and I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next two books.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Duncan Campbell was born and grew up in Yorkshire in the UK. After school he left York to study philosophy at the University of Sussex.

A huge dose of magic mushrooms whilst backpacking in Thailand resulted in a powerful hallucinogenic experience that awakened a strong interest in shamanism. The ‘spirit world’ sequences in the Foehammer books are drawn directly from his diary entries at that time.