The Sea Was a Fair Master – Calvin Demmer

Title: The Sea Was a Fair Master
Author: Calvin Demmer
Publisher: Unnerving
Genre: Horror/Flash Fiction

I have never read flash fiction before, let alone horror flash fiction.

I was a bit worried to say the least. I have in the past suggested I needed more from Demmer’s short stories. So, I cautiously began reading this on my lunch breaks at work. And you know what? I really liked it. They were short, to the point, and developed enough that I was satisfied.

Some of my favorites: The Peeper, Evolution, Spanish and Hangman.

I like it when Demmer delves into the criminal justice field, so far I have enjoyed the 2 stories I have read from him where the characters are involved with keeping order. The Peeper dims the heroism of those who are meant to shine the light.

Evolution reminded me why I don’t like dark alleys or being alone in parking lots. It was a salty warning to be on guard. And that trust needs to be earned.

Spanish was an interesting twist to what might go swish, swish in the depths of the rivers and the secrets dark places can hide.

Hangman was kind of my favorite because it dealt with EXTREME ENGLISH. Death by poor word choices and limited vocabulary.

If you like dark stories and need a quick word bite then this might fit your needs.

On a side note, I dig the cover. It reminds me of something I’ve seen before, but can’t quite remember.

You can find the anthology on Amazon for $2.99 in Kindle format and $10.00 in paperback.

Synopsis: The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

For the sea was a fair master.

OWL Rating:

 

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

 

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The Sun Dwellers – David Estes

I am almost done with this series that I have been reading over the past few years (since 2014).

This is just a continuation of The Moon Dwellers story-line and just like the others, I enjoyed it just as much.

I am not going to go into too much detail, since the books are all linked, but it was a satisfying finale to the underground realm.

I enjoy Estes writing. He includes action, romance and crisis that makes for an enjoyable read. Also, I never feel bored and find the tempo of the stories to clip right along in an acceptable and appropriate manner.

If you like teen romances, strong female leads and dystopian world settings than you might enjoy this tale.

You can find the story on Amazon for $2.99 in Kindle format and $12.99 in paperback format.

Synopsis: Includes a bonus Dwellers Short Story (Anna’s Story) and a sneak peek at David Estes’ follow up YA dystopian series, Fire Country!

With those she’s closest to dying around her, Adele embarks on a secret mission to the Sun Realm to assassinate the President. Along the way she’ll uncover secrets about her relationship with Tristan that she might not be ready to face. Tristan has a secret, too, one that’s been eating him up inside ever since he met Adele. Will he reveal all, and risk the loss of friendship and love at a time when he needs it the most? At the same time, Adele’s mother, General Rose, must lead her soldiers into battle to face the sun dweller army in the hopes of holding them off until Adele can complete her mission. Can she outlast the strength of President Nailin’s elite fighting force? There’s only one truth in their world: someone must die.

OWL Rating:

Who Are Your Favorites?

I recently realized when people ask me, “Who is your favorite writer?” I often trip over the names of authors that I have read extensively from. Who are my favorite authors? That is like asking me to pick my favorite pet or my favorite color, there are just too many beautiful writers to choose from.

So I decided to reflect on who do I feel has influenced me as a reader? Who has affected my reading experience? And I came up with a short list, but certainly not an exhaustive list.

1.) FANTASY – Neil Gaiman: Stardust.

I stumbled on him as a 14-year-old at a bookshop in Salem, MA. This was back when malls still had bookstores. I was camping with my family and saw Stardust thrown on top of a heap of books at a discount price. This was before the movie and before I had really sprung my fantasy loving wings. The book was good, but it wasn’t earth shattering. What changed in my life that day was that for the first time, I chose a story. Instead of reading my sister’s books or relying on suggestions, I found a story for myself. This also began my teenage love affair with Gaiman because he was the first writer I ever read who I felt was truly original. It didn’t feel like a remake of every other book I ever read. I felt inspired by him and fell in love with his creativity. I haven’t read Gaiman in a long time, but I still view him as one of the masters of storytelling who altered my reading world.

2.) HORROR/SCI-FI – Stephen Kozeniewski: Billy and the Cloneasaurus.

I was approached by Kozeniewski several years ago to review this book. I had never heard of him, but since we read mostly indie here he seemed like a good fit. The story was not what I expected at all. Kozeniewski is mainly a horror/sci-fi writer and while I dig the sci-fi, I am not really a horror reader. Regardless, I didn’t know this at the time I agreed to read this story, which I thought was going to be a comedy. This story was a ride for me. Kozeniewski was humorous and dark all at the same time and I found I was blown away by how creative this tale turned out to be. From that day forward, Kozeniewski has been an automatic YES for me. He opened the horror door for me and showed me what I was missing, but also he showed me his amazing mind. Every story he creates is vastly different from the last, and I find I am an eager beaver to read  his work whenever a new installment comes out. He changed my perspective on an entire genre, and he changed my reading choices.

3.) CLASSICAL/ROMANCE – Charlotte Bronté: Jane Eyre.

Forced to read Jane Eyre in high school, I discovered a love for the classics. I laid awake at night crying into the rumbled pages of this twisted love story. My heart breaking for Jane, as she struggled to find her place in a world that found her so undeserving. Mr. Rochester’s gruff and peculiar courtship of Jane made me swoon and imagine my own classical romance. I was a teenager, and I was in-love with the idea of love. This story taught me the value of old stories and how relevant they still are today. I re-read this story every now and again, and I find I discover something new every time. As I age, my takeaway is always different and I see the many layers that exist in this story. It is not just a love story, but a story of a woman coming into her own.

4.) EROTICA – Anne Rice (pen-name A.N. Roquelaure): The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy.

I never finished the final book in this series because it just became too much. However, the first book and the second showed me the world of erotic romance, with a healthy side of bondage. This was my first foray into the genre and surprisingly not my last. I read it as a teenager, so once again it has had a lasting impact on my life. It has been a frame of reference for me for all other books that fall into this genre, and I find that I am always comparing. The first in the series was mesmerizing for me. I had never seen such naughty words written on a page. It was like losing my virginity to a book. You always remember your first.

5.) HISTORICAL FICTION/FAIRYTALE – Juliet Marillier: The Sevenwaters Series.

I’m a girl who when I was a child was obsessed with romance and finding your forever person. I also love fantasy and learning new things. So when you wrap that all up into one, you get the Sevenwaters Series. Marillier ranked as my top writer for most of my teenage and early 20s years, until I read one of her stories right after a break-up. Bad timing. And I have not gone back. Her stories are beautiful, but they are rather predictable and so over time, I have found I need to space them out. She was important for me because she was the biggest catalyst for continuing to be a big reader. I kept reading because of her ability to overwhelm me with the fantastical and magical possibilities.

6.) CHILDREN’S – Rafe Martin and David Shannon: The Rough Faced Girl.

This was a story I fell in love with as a child. It was about a physically ugly girl who truly was the most beautiful inside. And that beauty finally gets the chance to shine at the end. It was a Cinderella story that captured my imagination as a child. It was one of the first stories that I felt a connection to the character. There were times in my life I was bullied growing up, so this story struck a chord. She was a better quality person than those who shamed her. It helped me feel better about myself, when others were unkind.

Now when someone asks me, “Who is your favorite writer?” — I shrug and say there are too many to count, but I can share a few of my favorite stories because they helped shape me into the reader and person I am today.

Who has influenced you? What stories changed your reading experience?

 

The Star Dwellers – David Estes

Title: The Star Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Page Number: 374 pages
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian

The Star Dwellers continues the journey of The Dweller’s Saga by Estes.

The first book rocked my socks, and this segment continued that ride. While this installment was a bit predictable, it was still worth the time invested.

I love how all the stories are related and how they are building to some grand finale. I am eager to reach the final installment of this series.

This story continued the tale of Adele and Tristan, two protagonists from opposites sides of the tracks, who fall fatefully in-love and are bound by some unseen force that propels them forward. Their actions reignite a revolution and it is through their eyes we see them succeed and stumble their way to freedom.

It was just as compelling a read as the first. It is entertaining and claustrophobic all at the same time. Reading about people living underground and never seeing the sky and breathing fresh air, honestly sounds like a horrible nightmare. I think I would go insane, if I had to live under such conditions.

All I can say is this was a great read, and I am already plugging along into the next installment. Estes or his editor, still overuses the colon, but I am learning to ignore it.

If you are interested in revolutionary brave soles that seem destined for greatness despite their circumstances, then this is  the story for you!

You can find the tale on Amazon for $2.99 in Kindle format or in $12.99 in paperback format.

Synopsis: After rescuing her father and younger sister, Adele is forced to leave her family and Tristan behind to find her mother in the cruel and dangerous realm of the star dwellers.

Amidst blossoming feelings for Adele, Tristan must cast his feelings aside and let her find her own way amongst the star dwellers, while he accompanies Adele’s father to meet with the leaders of the moon dwellers and decide the fate of the Tri-Realms.

Will Adele be able to rescue her mother and make it back to the Moon Realm before the President and the sun dweller soldiers destroy her family?

Can Tristan convince the moon dweller puppets of the error of their ways?

Was Adele’s lost kiss with Tristan her one and only chance at love?

In her world there’s only one rule: Someone must die.

 

OWL Rating:

Lit Rant – The Overuse of the Colon

What is going on?

The last two books I read were littered with colons. While the authors and editors are usually not using it incorrectly, they are using it unwisely.

It feels like they just received a shiny new toy and cannot help themselves.

I might not be an editor or perfect with my own grammar, but I do claim to be experienced as a reader, and I know when something is not flowing right.

Every time I see one, I feel like the author just burped in my face. It feels rude and unclean, and it damages the flow of the sentence and looks choppy.

Please, for the love of all readers, stop.

If you are a fiction writer, embrace self-control when using punctuation. It makes a huge difference when reading a story.

I found this New York Times blog article about authors who overuse it and why not to. If you have the time, take a moment to read it.

What about you? Have you started noticing the use or overuse of the colon? I do not remember ever seeing it to the extent I am now.

 

 

 

The Moon Dwellers – David Estes

Title: The Moon Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Page Number: 366
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian

Have human lives become like a tube of toothpaste? Something to be used up and thrown away? At first the tube seems so big, so full of life. But after just a few uses it becomes dented and lumpy—already life is ebbing away from it—and it’s only a matter of time before the final bit is squeezed out, rendering it an empty vessel, good for nothing.

I was about to crack open the final installment of what I thought was the end to this series, but the author warned against it. Instead, he recommended readers read all books in the series, including, the main and sister series.

So, that is what I am doing.

I’m not a big series kind of gal, I often feel it’s just a ploy to sell more books. So I grumbled a bit when I realized what I thought was a 4 part series, turned out to be 7.

In a huff, I will admit that Estes has kept my interest for 4 books now. I have 2 1/2 to go, in order to complete this series. I am finding that the world he has created, a dysfunctional Earth that I don’t recognize, is worth every extra hour I have invested.

I have my favorites from the series, like we all do. The Moon Dwellers is so far my favorite, whereas Fire Country comes in second.

This is such a unique dystopian tale— different than any of the others I have read so far. Estes has created multiple cultures and dialects for his characters and each one is colorful and diverse. It’s a young adult epic.

I give Estes a shiny star for his character creation because I acutely feel their personalities. I feel like I know them intimately. Estes knows how to create a character with deep thoughts, conflicted feelings, and humor.  They are real to me, not some figment of imagination. I can feel the blood pumping through them.

My only complaint, which I fear is a growing one with authors and editors in today’s world is the overuse of the punctuation mark, Mr. Colon. It was incredibly overused and I kept wishing that it would just go away. It was corrupting an almost perfect reading experience for me.

If you are looking for a story that breathes life and personality, a tale that inspires the wounded and the marginalized, that shows what we can accomplish when we let go of superficial comfort and safety, then this is the story for you.

It is a tale of brave heroes and heroines, strong female role models and heart stopping action and attraction. Take a chance and discover the magic of Estes.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for 0 cents, and $9.99 in paperback.

 

Synopsis: In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents’ crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.

OWL Rating:

 

 

Raven’s Peak – Lincoln Cole – OnlineBookClub.org

I recently reviewed this book on the website https://onlinebookclub.org. As an agreement with the organization, I am not allowed to cross post the review.

However, I am allowed to link it on my blog.

If you are interested in what I had to say about this story, head on over to their website.

 

Synopsis:

A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to discover the root of the evil affecting people. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

Abigail rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, but also to trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is something hard to have for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.

Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

 

About OnlineBookClub.org:

OnlineBookClub.org is a free site for readers that has been around for over 10 years, before smartphones even!

They have a ton of awesome features for book lovers and a massive community of active members from all over the world. There are over 450,000 members!

Some of their most popular features include:

  • Exclusive, original reviews by our professional review team – Find the gems out of the millions of books published each year alone.
  • Our free web app Bookshelves – Bookshelves enables you to easily store, track, and share lists of books you have read and want to read.
  • Our Book & Reading Forums – No longer do you need to schedule a specific book club meeting time in your busy schedule. At any time you want, you can instantly discuss any book you have read with other people who read the same book. This is a free fun super-social group of hundreds of thousands of welcoming people.

It is all free for readers. They are not a book store, and they do not sell books. They are a free online community for readers with all sorts of awesome free features and free tools for book lovers. In terms of going to book stores like Amazon to get books, their own free Book of the Day tool notifies you when well-rated books go on temporary free promotions. So sign up easily and completely free now.

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

 

The Witches of Eileanan (The Witches of Eileanan #1) – Kate Forsyth

Title: The Witches of Eileanan #1
Author: Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Ace, an inprint of Penguin Random House
Genre: Epic Fantasy

I have never heard of Forsyth before and I am puzzled as to why?

During the 90’s, I picked up anything with a fantasy theme. It’s when I blossomed as a true reader. I began to know what I liked and could choose stories for myself without relying on my sister to tell me what to read.

It was then where I learned that Gaiman was a storytelling God and de Lint was my muse.

I would peruse the stacks piling my arms with hardcovers (I was a bit of a snob back in the day), and find new authors to read that might speak to my magical yearnings.

So how is it, after 25 years of being a fantasy reader (my preferred genre), I had never stumbled on her name before?

I don’t know, but it’s bothering me and I’m wondering how many other true fantasy authors I’m missing? Whose stories will I die never hearing? Very upsetting, to say the least.

Forsyth is a wonderful character creator. I loved the old, earth and animal loving witch called, Meghan, the caretaker of Isabeau, a young witch whose immaturity vanishes as she is thrust into the brutal world. The characters kept and keep evolving into what might eventually be called heroes.

I loved the world Forsyth created, her world building was constantly growing with each page turn and as the story unfolded, I kept learning about new races and creatures that inhabited the world.

A truly well crafted tale. I cannot wait to read the next installment.

If you are in the mood for a true epic fantasy, one where witches live in hiding, while horned evil spreads its shadow across the world and temptresses beguile kings, this is the story for you.

I enjoyed every page and every word.

You can find the story on Amazon in Kindle format for $2.99. Barnes and Nobles sells new copies for $8.99 in paperback. Otherwise, you can buy used paperbacks through Amazon.

Synopsis: ‘Twas a time when dragons left their lair and evil shadowed the land….

On the Day of Reckoning, the witches of Eileanan were outlawed–and violations of the new order were punishable by death. Eileanan’s Great Towers, once meccas of magic and learning, were left in ruins. And now, the entire land trembles in fear….

Yet deep in the mountains, in the shadow of Dragonclaw, a young girl is being tutored in the old ways. Ignorant of her past, uncertain of her future, the foundling Isabeau will soon be forced down a dangerous path of prophesy, conspiracy, and magic. It is a world where dragons possess the key to ancient mysteries…where a lost prince will discover a strange and wondrous destiny…and where the ultimate battle between good and evil will be waged….

A new Day of Reckoning is at hand….

OWL Rating:


Walking Disaster – Jamie McGuire

I was in the mood for a little bit of romance the other night and decided to cycle through my kindle to-be-read pile. I clicked open on this story to continue the relationship of Mad Dog, Travis Maddox and running from her past, Abby Abernathy.

The first in the series was from Abby’s point of view, whereas this story is from Travis’.

I can say that I preferred Abby’s version much more. Travis is just a giant meat head in this book and acts like he chows on steroids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His characterization was over the top and often incredibly annoying.

Additionally, I didn’t feel enough new content was shown to make telling Travis’ side worth it. I got the gist of it in the first book, I didn’t need another to see his side, which was not very illuminating.

I still got a kick out of the incredible attraction and magical force pulling them together, so it satisfied my romance hit, but I can’t say I enjoyed the ride as much as the first time. Luckily, the book is easy to read and I whipped through it quickly. Abby’s character was the grounding force that was needed to keep reading.

While I was excited for this series with the first book, the second has killed my interest in the series and I likely will not be continuing. If I do continue, it will just be to read the one I already bought since it’s in my que and I paid for it.

If you are looking for an intense, over the top, romantic attraction, this story will likely satisfy your taste buds. However, Travis’ personality might kill them first.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $9.99 or in paperback for $8.98.

Synopsis: Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster.Can you love someone too much? Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard, Fight harder. In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees. Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

OWL Rating:

 

 

Dime Store Magic (Women of the Otherworld, #3) – Kelley Armstrong

Continuing the Women of the Otherworld series, I delved into the world of Paige and Savannah, two witches still learning the dynamics of being an adopted mother and daughter team.

The Good: Paige and Savannah both grew on me as characters. Paige starts off a bit dramatic and immature, but with time and experience she begins to blossom into a solid and intelligent woman. By the end of the novel, I really liked her. Whereas, Savannah is portrayed initially as a sociopath, but by the end her inner empathy shines through. It took awhile to shine though.

The story was dramatic and exciting, though at times predictable. It was well-paced and engaging.

The Bad: Aside from initially being annoyed at the characters maturity level, there wasn’t much to complain about. I personally would prefer the series to be broken up into separate story-lines. For example, the werewolves would be one series, the witches another. Instead, each book jumps from one magical group to the other. It makes you feel like you have to read them all, even if you are only interested in one story-line. However, the author gives enough of a background to fill in the gaps, so you could read them individually.

If you are looking for a witchy twist on the modern day magic user then I recommend this installment of the series. It grows on you as you read and I was happy that it was vastly different from the shows story-line.

Synopsis: Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world’s most powerful elite organizations- the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige’s wildest antics can’t hold a candle to those of her new charge- an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil… and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder- and frame Paige for the crime. It’s an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.

OWL Rating: