Q&A Session with Martin Berman-Gorvine

I had the pleasure of interviewing Martin Berman-Gorvine, the author of Monsters of Venus, which is the sequel to Seven Against Mars. This tale is a mix of realism and science fiction for YA readers. I had previously read his stand alone novel Heroes of Earth, a tale of teens who battle the evil empire.

Martin is a seasoned writer, both professionally and personally. He writes intelligent science fiction that weaves in historical events. An interesting combination that is sure to intrigue many young readers.

ALL ABOUT MARTIN

Martin Berman-Gorvine is the author of six science fiction novels: Heroes of Earth (Wildside Press, 2015), Ziona (as Marty Armon, Amazon/CreateSpace, 2014), Save the Dragons! (Wildside Press, 2013), Seven Against Mars (Wildside Press, 2013), 36 (Livingston Press, 2012), and The Severed Wing (as Martin Gidron, Livingston Press, 2002), which received the 2002 Sidewise Award for Alternate History (Long Form) at the International Science Fiction Convention in Toronto in 2003.

His short stories include “Of Cats’ Whiskers and Klutzes,” which is appearing in the forthcoming anthology Brave New Girls, “Palestina,” which was published in Interzone magazine’s May/June 2006 issue, and was a finalist for the Sidewise Award (Short Form), and “The Tallis,” which appeared in Jewish Currents magazine, May 2002.

He is a professional journalist, currently serving as a reporter for the Bureau of National Affairs newsletter Human Resources Report.

His website is www.martinbermangorvine.com, his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/martingorvine, his musings on books, politics and life can be found at http://martianperspective.blogspot.com, and he tweets at @MeshuggeWriter. He lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with his wife, a teenage son, three orange tabby cats, two shy kittens, and a sort of Muppet dog.

Q&A Session:

1. What was the inspiration for this story?

It started with a horrid bully of teacher I had in junior high school (as we called it back then, in the late Pleistocene). My father, God bless him, is also a teacher, and he has said to me many times he can’t understand why anyone would become a teacher just to be mean to kids. Well, that’s the answer right there–sadists like that enjoy it. And just in case you imagine that teachers like that went extinct when the ice sheets melted, the other day a friend with a daughter in third grade told us her teacher had informed the class that her purpose for the year was to make them cry. I hate bullies and sadists of all kinds and want to show them up for what they are.

2. Many of your stories tie back to the Holocaust. What draws you to always weave it into your novels?

One current cosmological theory is that there is an enormous black hole in the heart of every galaxy that holds it together with its incredible gravity. It’s true that the Holocaust seems to perform something like that function in my fiction. It’s difficult for me to articulate why. Although my family is Eastern European Jewish in origin, all of my great grandparents left the Czarist Russian Empire long before World War I, so I lost no close relatives in the Holocaust. I’ve been married twice, though, and both my wives lost great grandparents in the Holocaust. I was also deeply affected when I read Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical Auschwitz novel Night, when I was fourteen. To me, those events cast a pall over the world that is impossible to escape, and my reaction to what is now going on in America and Europe is that it is all shocking and appalling, yes, but after Auschwitz, nobody has any business being surprised at what mass man is capable of.

In Seven Against Mars, the predecessor novel to Monsters of Venus, the Martian Princess Anya and Rachel Zilber, my teenage Warsaw Ghetto escapee, are condemned to death and led through an enormous jeering mob in the Martian capital city. They cheat death, but that glimpse into the dark heart of humanity… Look, long before the Holocaust our deepest thinkers feared that terrifying potential in mass man. It’s the fundamental reason why the American constitutional framers put all those “checks and balances” in place. I refer you to the near-lynching scene in Huckleberry Finn and the scornful speech by Sherburn, the shotgun-wielding man who refuses to be a victim. (http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/21/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/171/chapter-22/) We must always be vigilant.

3. Why science fiction and dark historical reality? Why that combination?

Science fiction has been haunted from its beginnings by what Kipling called “the gods of the copybook headings.” (http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm) Think of the eerie prophecy of what aerial bombing would do to great cities, in H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds. And yet by a paradox that I’m hardly the first to notice, the bright, shiny space fantasy worlds have been overtaken by the tragic historical reality of what humans actually use our space-going technology for. The subject is almost unavoidable.

4. What kind of research did you do for this novel?

Basic planetary facts about Venus I looked up online. For the Aramaic that my “Malchussei” tribe of Venusians speak, I consulted with Naomi Jacobs, a friend I’ve had since college who is a scholar of the ancient Middle East.

5. Your stories seem to be written for a more intellectual reader. Given that your audience is meant to be younger, why did you make this choice?

The adult world grievously underestimates adolescents. I was talking to a teenage friend of my youngest son recently, and I told him that I like writing YA novels that pose real moral quandaries because I think teenagers are able to approach these issues with open minds, much more so than adults who have often stopped thinking about them. He told me that was the first time he had ever heard teenagers described as thoughtful. How sad is that?

6. What is one wacky/unique thing about you as a person/author?

I seem to get some of my best writing done in conditions that others would find very distracting. One favorite, for example, is using my iPad mini on the subway. Even better is screaming kids everywhere! It’s as though peace and quiet are disturbing to me.

7. If you lived in the world you created, who would Martin be? What role would you serve?

I hope I would be the wise sage, guiding the heroes with patience and love through their trials to make the world a better place. My cave in the mountains would be book-lined and climate-controlled, though.

8. What is one story you want to tell, but have yet to?

“The Double,” a series of books about doppelgängers who started life as the same people but then split when their worlds split and and now live parallel lives in parallel versions of Earth. They can physically cross over to the other version of Earth through secret tunnels, changing places with their doppelgänger. Lots of fun complications ensue!

9. What can we expect from you next?

The second book of my four-volume “Days of Ascension” horror novel series, Day of Vengeance, officially debuts November 13. It is already available as an ebook on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Day-Vengeance-Days-Ascension-Book-ebook/dp/B0756S656T/), and I’ve already sent the publisher the complete text of Book 3, Day of Atonement. These books are recommended for age 18 and up.

10. What is one piece of advice you wish you could give to your younger (writer) self?

When you write the first draft a novel, find a way to turn off the inner censor and just let your imagination flow. You’ll have plenty of time on subsequent drafts to cut, revise, and rewrite. Also, if you do research for a book, you don’t have to and in fact shouldn’t cram all the fruits of that research into the novel.

11. Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

 Katie, because she is a loyal friend and fiercely brave in fighting for the people she cares about. Also, she is smart and resourceful and self-educated, which in the final analysis is the only kind of education that really counts.

Monsters of Venus from the Wildside Press website: Life is never dull when you’ve created a new world or two! After restoring Princess Anya to her throne on Mars, Rachel, Katie, and Jack return to Venus to rescue Sonia, Katie’s adopted sister, from the clutches of Da Mayor. With the help of Jack’s brother and his friends, they also fight to free the inhabitants of the oppressed city. But Da Mayor can change the future and even erase Rachel from the world she created! Can Rachel and her friends survive long enough to overcome Da Mayor’s evil plot and save the lives of everyone on Venus? Or is the planet doomed to return to a scorching, sulfur-filled death-trap, killing all who live there? (http://wildsidepress.com/monsters-of-venus-by-martin-berman-gorvine-paperback/) Also, see my website at http://martinbermangorvine.com/literary/mov.html

Synopsis:

Trapped in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942, teenager Rachel Zilber escaped the horror by writing about the adventures of Princess Anya of Mars… and was transported into her own make-believe world, along with Katie, a girl from the future. No sooner did our heroines defeat the dastardly King Ares III of Mars and help the good princess ascend to the Sandstone Throne, an adventure recounted in Seven Against Mars, than they must face an even more dangerous enemy: Da Mayor of Venus “Beppo” Bellissini, a cruel tyrant who has kidnapped Katie’s sister Sonya! Can they save her and avert the insidious threat this sinister new villain poses to the fragile fabric of the reality they have created?

Those jerks from Venus were going to be good and sorry they’d kidnapped Sonya Goldberg-Webb. Sonya herself had told them so, several times an hour, for the past three weeks, ever since they’d grabbed her on the way home from school on Mars and stuffed her in this rocketship. That meant, by rough reckoning, and even allowing time off for sleeping and eating, she had told them so more than three thousand times. But far from getting tired of it, she was enjoying it more and more all the time.

She loved watching the face of the tall kidnapper, the one she called Fatso because he had a slight paunch, bunch up and freeze as if his jaw muscles were developing a cramp from being clamped down so hard and so often, while his nostrils flared out so wide they looked like garden hoses. She loved even more making the short kidnapper, the one she called Spazzo, jump about a mile by reminding him suddenly just how sorry he was going to be, right when he was least expecting it.

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The Wild Ways (Gale Women #2) – Tanya Huff

One of my most favorite stories is Summon the Keeper (Keeper Chronicles #1) by Tanya Huff. It is the story that always brings me coming back to Huff.

Not all of her tales excite me, but when she delves into the magical world, she usually strikes right. The Wild Ways, is a continuation of her Gale Women series that deals strictly in magic.

I was happy to dip my toes back into this world and explore another story line that of Charlotte (Charlie) Gale, a musical wild child.

If you are looking for mythical creatures from dragons to selkies, this story will fit the bill.

It took me a couple chapters to feel engaged and connected to Charlie, but eventually her character began to unravel and I found myself growing to like her more as the story evolves. Charlie is a lesbian and I really enjoyed this character depiction choice. Her sexuality played a role in her character development and I felt enhanced her real personality.

Tanya knows how to tell a good story. She is a prolific writer and has written more stories and genres than I can remember over her long career. She is always worth picking up. If you are a dreamer then I think you will enjoy this blend of fantasy and reality. She makes you believe that goblins hide in everyday mines and dragons walk in human skins.

Take a chance on the wild side. You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $7.99, hardcover for $12.99, paperback is only available in used condition, and $19.95 in audio.

Synopsis: Alysha Gale’s cousin Charlotte is a Wild Power, who allies herself with a family of Selkies in a fight against offshore oil drilling. The oil company has hired another of the Gale family’s Wild Powers, the fearsome Auntie Catherine, to steal the Selkies’ sealskins. To defeat her, Charlotte will have to learn what born to be Wild really means in the Gale family….

OWL Rating:

 

Circuit Series – Rhett C. Bruno

On October 31st, a box set will be released from Diversion Books of the Circuit Series by Rhett C. Bruno.

As a huge fan of Bruno, I cannot recommend this series enough.

Bruno is a rising star in the science fiction world and you will not be disappointed.

I had previously read and reviewed all three books in the series with glowing words to say.

If you have not checked out his books, now is the perfect opportunity!

You can see my reviews here:

1st book

2nd book

3rd book

Box Set Blurb:

Perfect for fans of The Expanse! The complete Circuit Trilogy features more than 750 pages of heart-pounding space-opera action and intrigue. 

Earth is a dying planet. To survive, humanity founds the Circuit, a string of colonies across the solar system, dedicated to mining resources vital to preserving what remains of mankind. 

The New Earth Tribunal, a powerful religious faction, rises to rule the Circuit. They believe a Spirit within the Earth will one day appear and welcome humanity back home. But following a string of seemingly random attacks, the Tribunal suspects its mortal enemy, the Ceresians, have rallied to once again challenge their absolute rule. 

Join an unlikely band of would-be saviors–the Tribunal’s best spy, a roguish Ceresian mercenary, a subservient android and a disgraced general–as they are drawn into a conspiracy destined to change the Circuit forever.A new, sinister threat has arisen–and it plans to bring down the Tribunal once and for all.

THE MAN BEHIND THE BOOKS

Rhett is a Sci-fi/Fantasy author currently living in Stamford, Connecticut. He is represented by Dystel & Goderich out of NYC and his published works include books in the Amazon Bestselling CIRCUIT SERIES (Published by Diversion Books) and TITANBORN SERIES (Random House Hydra). He is also one of the founders of the popular science fiction platform, Sci-Fi Bridge.

Rhett has been writing since he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic short stories when he was young to show to his friends and family. When he reached high school he decided to take that a step further and write his first novel. After the encouragement of his favorite English teacher, he decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to him could enjoy his early work.

While studying architecture at Syracuse University, he continued to write as much as he could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he decided to finally pursue his passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating himself to reading works of the Science Fiction authors he always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) he began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, the first part of a space opera series.

Since then he’s been hired by an Architecture firm in South Norwalk, CT. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to work on all of the countless stories bouncing around in his head. He’s also recently earned  a Certificate in Screenwriting from the New School in NYC, in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

Bruno’s Website

Goodreads

Blog

Twitter

Amazon Purchase Link for the Box Set

 

Not Dead…Yet

Hi all! I am just reaching out to say, WE ARE ALIVE!

Well kinda…

We have had a slew of personal and work things come up that have caused us to literally have no time to do what we love, which is read. A marriage occurred, sickness ensued, the paying the bills job got a bit more demanding… I can keep going, but I will spare you the finer details.

I know I have a slew of books I am scheduled to read for several authors. We have not forgotten about you! And I am scratching at the itch to get back to my stories.

If you have emailed me, I am sorry. I’m barely aware of what my name is most days.

While we might be a little quiet for a couple months, we will be back in force soon enough.

Thanks to all our dedicated readers! We have not abandoned you! We promise!

Dark Celebrations #10, #11, #12 – Short Stories – Calvin Demmer

I am beginning to wind down the list of the Dark Celebration short stories by Demmer. As always they are a short and strange snack before bed time.

Prom Screams #10: We will start with the best first. I rather liked this tale and wanted to keep reading. I didn’t love the protagonist, but I seem to have a dislike for most of the male characters Demmer portrays. They all seem like jerks and I often find taking pleasure in their discomfort. This tale was rather compelling and mysterious. I wanted to know more. My only sadness is the abruptness of the ending. I felt like the whole character development of the female companion could have just kept going. Who is she? What is this syndrome? What is her tragedy? Give me a book all about her!

OWL Rating


Synopsis: William Carlson has been dumped just before prom. But he has a master plan not only to impress his friends, but also to make his ex jealous. Things take an unexpected turn as soon as he meets Fay, a stripper known for her dance routine that incorporates fire. William has to adjust to a night that continues leading him down a dangerous path, despite his best efforts to correct course.

Making prom becomes the least of his problems.

 

Unidentified Fatherly Object #11: This was a very odd tale. Kind of came out left field and was rather unexpected. I had a hard time feeling the fear, but I could roll with this tale. Its unnaturalness carried it.

OWL Rating

Synopsis: Fred Garcia decides Father’s Day is the perfect time to find out what happened to his father. As he prepares to search the old, abandoned military base where his father used to work, he hopes for clues as to what might have occurred. Lights at the base, however, indicate that it’s not as inactive as suggested. Fred discovers the truth. Unfortunately, the truth is a dark and dangerous operation that cannot be unseen or escaped.

 

Independence Denied #12: I liked the beginning of this story, but was not so sure about the ending. I needed more content to make it sustainable for me. Overall, a bit anti-climatic feeling. I think my biggest critique is a need to feel more. Perhaps more showing of the emotions would elicit this for me. Still though, I like the uniqueness of each of Demmer’s stories — none two are the same. For a collection of short stories by the same author, he has maintained an individuality for each story that is commendable.

OWL Rating

Synopsis: With Independence Day near, Brad Marshall is expecting another routine day at his job as a research assistant. Then he sees a peculiar creature on one of the screens at work. While the rest of the world focuses on a sudden rash of devastating natural disasters, Brad is transfixed by the image he’s seen. He refuses to give up until he knows what it is. The answer he finds, however, will change the world forever.

 

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORIES

Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

Website

Goodreads

Purchase the stories from Amazon for 99 cents

Prom Screams

Unidentified Fatherly Object

Independence Denied

*I received a free copy of each story in exchange for an honest review

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit – Michael Finkel

I don’t read a ton of mainstream content, mainly because I don’t like being told what to like. So if the book has an Oprah seal of approval or a New York Times stamp of greatness, I glance and move on. I prefer the Indie writers, the undiscovered authors that just haven’t been recognized by the bigwigs. I’m not saying that those stamps don’t mean anything because often these books are good quality. But many times, they don’t mean anything besides the fact a publisher’s pocket are deep and able to pay for attention. Call me a bigwig snob if you like, I don’t care. Give me the struggling artists over the oversold and over represented authors who have “made it.”

That being said, occasionally a bigwig book calls to me. I am drawn to books about the wilderness and living in isolation, so when I saw this title pop up at the local library I added my name to the que of eager readers. The Stranger in the Woods is a story about a real man named Christopher Knight, who one day decided to get lost for 27 years. Finkel spent a span of time interviewing Knight, while he was incarcerated for burglary for 7 months. This book is Finkel’s retelling of Knight’s time in isolation.

I found it to be a moving and an extraordinary tale. Knight is a real man with many flaws, but as someone who sometimes wishes to live a more isolated life, I felt I understood Knight’s motivations. I could never disappear like Knight did. And he never seemed to have a reason for his behavior, but he certainly knew how to enjoy the eccentric life he created. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and Knight is an anomaly that many feared only because he chose a life less ordinary. He is not a saint or a getting back to nature prophet. However, I truly found him to be a fascinating man and hearing what he had to say about his experience and choices was insightful.

I felt Finkel did an excellent job at giving the facts, as Knight would have wanted. He didn’t condemn nor condone Knight’s choices. Instead, he seemed fascinated by the man and only wished to understand and share what he learned about Knight with the world. It was a journalistic take of one man’s life.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and only wish those who wish to get lost, could more easily do so in this society. Unfortunately, for Knight, finding isolation in this crowded world that values conformity is difficult to do.

You can find the story on Amazon for $12.99 in Kindle format and $14.40 in paperback.

Synopsis: Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

OWL Rating:

Check out the following website about real life hermits

 

The Wildling Sisters – Eve Chase

I am a bit behind on my reading this year. I find I am constantly distracted and reading more than I should at one time, thereby not making much progress on anything. I received this story as an ARC from Netgalley and while I was suppose to review it several weeks ago, I say better late than never!

This was not a usual choice of mine. At heart, if I have a choice I pick something with a little magic. This had a different kind of magic. It was a story about the bonds of sisterhood and motherhood. It was a coming of age story in some ways as well. But at its core, I felt the story was focused more on the strength of family even when we think they are slipping away.

I had specific ideas of where I thought this story was going. It never went to the darkest places I imagined, but it kept me hooked because I needed to know how it ended. It was well-written even for being an unedited copy.

It was cryptic and eerie even when nothing creepy was going on. There was always a cloud that followed the characters around. Chase did a masterful job in creating an uncertain and troubling feeling that pervaded the story and the separate story lines.

Her characters were likeable and real. I felt drawn and compassionate to them all and understood when they made mistakes.

If you are looking for a story that unsettles you in more than one way, and yet can make everything clearer then I think this story it for you. It’s a story about family and about loss. It tells the tale of four sisters who choose each other, even when vanities divide. And it open wounds that need to be cleaned when it comes to loves insecurity. A truly emotional and moving story.

You can find it on Amazon in Kindle format for $13.99, in Hardcover for $18.03 and in Audiobook for $29.58.

Synopsis:

Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.

When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.

Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.

Rich with the heat and angst of love both young and old, The Wildling Sisters is a gorgeous and breathtaking journey into the bonds that unite a family and the darkest secrets of the human heart.

OWL Rating:

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

 

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

We are honored by The Ceaseless Reader Writes for nominating us for the Versatile Blogger Award!

According to the Versatile Blogger page:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Of course, we thank Denny from the The Ceaseless Reader Writes blog. He has been very kind to our little review blog over the past few months.

We nominate the following blogs/bloggers for this very same award – whether because we like what they have to say or how they say it:

  1. The Renegade Press
  2. Thrice Read
  3. Heartstring Eulogies
  4. Critiquing Chemist (my favorite)
  5. The Book Rat
  6. Tattooed Book Geek
  7. Reader in Reverie
  8. Book Bastion
  9. Geekritique
  10. TeacherofYA’s Book Blog
  11. She Latitude
  12. shigekuni
  13. Reads & Reels
  14. The Book Prophet
  15. A Dance With Books

7 Facts About ThruTheWords:

  1. I would choose to be a shapeshifter as a special power
  2. I live in 2 places and work in 2 places – just call me nomadic
  3. I can’t live a fulfilling life without a canine companion
  4. Indigo is my favorite color
  5. I was born a flaming red head
  6. I run from crowds
  7. I’m a vintage kind of girl

 

Caged (The Caged Series Book 1) – Amber Lynn Natusch

Way before Twilight was even thought of, my love of werewolves blossomed while reading L.J. Smith in the 90’s. A wee girl of 11 or 13, I was transfixed, while curled up in my bed dreaming of my werewolf soul mate that was destined in the stars (or so I hoped).

Her creation of the Night World spawned my love. But in truth, it was always there.

I feel if you are a dog lover there is a natural inclination to love the inner wolf that materializes in legends. I have been obsessed with canines since a child. We personify our pets everyday, giving them human qualities that we want to believe they embody.

It seems natural then that we create creatures in our legends that can be both beast and man. Creatures that embody fierce instinctual behaviors and exhibit determined loyalty and bravery. There can be nothing more admirable (in my opinion) in a companion, whether human or beast.

There are of course, two different types of weres. You have the sexy, boyfriend kind that fiercely protect you, and you have the angry, monster kind that want to rip out your insides. I prefer a little pinch of both.

That is why some many moons ago, I bought this story. It was an impulse purchase, believing as I clicked the “buy”  button the book would likely stink. But it had werewolves, so there you go.

It has been sitting in my Kindle que ever since.

So, did I like it? That is the question.

20 pages in, I was debating if I wanted to keep reading. A self-published story always comes with some reader hesitation from me. So I wasn’t surprised, when I struggled to get into the story. Who was this character named Ruby? Did I like her? I wasn’t sure. But I was bored and had nothing better to do, so I kept reading. And… it got better.

I ended up enraptured by the story. I read it over two days, spending my Wednesday night sprawled on the couch, the dogs scattered around the room.

What was the hook?

Well my readers, I will tell you. Natusch understands how to drag out a romance connection. If you are writing a book that has sequels, the romance cannot be satisfied in book 1. If it is, you have lost me. The best part of Christmas, isn’t Christmas, it’s Christmas Eve – the anticipation, the excitement! That is what you want to experience. Christmas is boring. The presents are no longer intriguing because I know what’s inside. Just like Christmas, the art of writing a good romance is in the building up to the final unification.

Love triangles and obstacles to the romance help to spread that out, which Natusch does well. Now, 20% into book 2 and the romance is closer to climax, but not fulfilled, thereby keeping me hostage.

The romance building is not the only positive to this story, the characters are all enjoyable. Ruby has grown on me, her sarcastic quips and quick tempter a growing endearing quality. The constant stream of attainable hotties spice up her life with drama, which keeps me spinning.

There were just a few issues I struggled with: 

1. The lightness in tone during the dark, scary climax was a bit too light. I wasn’t feeling the danger.

2. The editing could have been a bit more thorough. With self-published  novels, I tend to be more aware of the grammar issues and more offended by them. There were sentences that weren’t completely developed that needed a bit more work, but overall it was pretty clean.

Would I recommend this story?

Definitely, but only to werewolf loving, love struck teens (or adults who never grew up like me). If you enjoyed Twilight, you will likely enjoy this as well.

You can find the story on Amazon for 99 cents in Kindle format or in paperback for $11.99.

Synopsis: “I stood in the middle of the room, unmoving – I barely breathed. My life had just become surreal, impossible, and one enormous lie. I needed to go, to run somewhere, anywhere to beat back the reality that was rapidly closing in around me. The image of him was burned into my retina, flashing over and over again like a warning. He was trapped somewhere between human and decidedly not, and I realized that was my new reality.
I was too.”


After the death of her parents, Ruby awakens from a lifetime of shadows and finds herself alone, thrust into a world of lies, deceit, betrayal and the supernatural.


As her quest for truth continues to come up short, she realizes that maybe some questions really are best left unanswered.


When her true identity is finally unveiled, she is forced to choose between two of the mysterious men who continually seem to crop up in her life.


She chooses poorly.


Now abandoned, Ruby must learn to call on the darkness within to survive, or spend a hellish eternity imprisoned because of it.

OWL Rating:

The Eye of the World: The Wheel of Time (Book 1) – Robert Jordan

Oh what a fool I have been!

As a child, a fantasy child, I shied away from the likes of Jordan. I thought to myself, “that’s a book for boys, not girls.” I truly believed that I would not like it, perhaps because I only knew boys who had read it. I had heard of it, of course! Who hasn’t? But some seed had been planted that it wasn’t a book for a female audience.

I don’t know what changed my mind. Maybe, just growing up. But suddenly now, while in my early-ish thirties, I realized that it was time to check it out. I still half expected to hate the story, but I clicked buy on the Kindle version anyways. I told myself that I needed to make sure I wouldn’t like it, instead of just always assuming.

When a book is as popular and legendary as the  The Wheel of Time series, one would expect that it should be wonderful, but I had my doubts.

Well…

I can tell you all that I loved it! There were some issues, to be sure. But overall, what an amazing story! I’m hooked. If only I have more time, I would be tearing through book 2 right now. I’ll admit I have been checked out for an entire  month, while completely absorbed in this story. When you go back and read the great writers of fantasy, it makes all others pale in comparison. You wonder to yourself, how could I have enjoyed such and such, when something like the Wheel of Time exists?

The world building, the history, the character development were all fantastical!

The female characters not so much. Specifically, Egwene and Nynaeve. What horrible representations of women they were. Stubborn and whiny they both made my skin prickle. Nynaeve, a shrill creature who I felt was controlling and disagreeable. Egwene, largely just annoying and foolish. Jordan tried to make them strong female role models, but instead he just made me wish they would succumb to death or move off the main story. Jordan’s saving grace was the Aes Sedai, Moiraine, a true female leader that did not make me want to run for the hills.

And there was some random comparison to a treadmill that got through, which was just not quite right.

The rest of it was wonderful! I was sucked in and will never, ever, look at another book and genderize it again. How silly I have been.

If you are like me and never read this series because of foolish gender stereotype, stop it right now. Go read it.

You can find it in Kindle format for $8.99 and $10.88 in paperback. Click one of the prices to see additional formats.

Synopsis:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs―a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts― five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

OWL Rating: +++++