fantasy

The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway

The Misadventures of Martin Hathaway
Published: December 20, 2016
Author's Twitter: @KathrynCGlen
In this lighthearted adventure, hapless history teacher Martin Hathaway falls through Space and Time to land upon Airship Captain Daisy Fitzgerald McNamara’s coffee table and into the middle of an adventure larger than he could ever dream.   In the first installment of the Misadventures Trilogy, hapless history teacher Martin Hathaway falls through Space and Time to land upon Airship Captain Daisy Fitzgerald McNamara’s coffee table and into the middle of an adventure larger than he could ever dream. Martin Hathaway awakens to discover that he is the center of a battle between the Free People of the Lost Valley and the Clockwork Men of Anatamenwar. Together with the eccentric crew of the A.S. Nephthys, Martin must explore the world of Arnica to discover his origins and ultimate destiny, all while reminding himself not to fall in love with the beautiful but deadly Captain McNamara. His journey is a lighthearted, humorous romp through time-honored fantasy conventions, proving that nothing, drama included, should be taken too seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dragons’ Chosen

The Dragons’ Chosen
Categories: ,
Published: January 1, 2016
Author's Twitter: @Gwen_fntsy_writ
The dragons came from beyond the Crystal Mountains, demanding a virgin sacrifice… and Princess Genevieve learns she’s it when she’s handed a golden token – the mark of the chosen. Genevieve accepts her fate. She must, in order to save her kingdom. But the journey to her final destiny is complicated by the arrival of Chris, a 1970s Berkeley co-ed. To Chris, the whole scenario reeks of deception. Where she comes from, corsets are for burning and virgins are hard to find. She’s sure the dragons are out for more than innocent blood, but the only way to find out what they really want is to accompany Genevieve on her journey. Not what she had planned for her sophomore year of college. Genevieve is duty-bound–unless Chris is right. Then her sacrifice would mean nothing. Other than woe to those who duped her…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Catcher : A Chosen Novel

Wind Catcher : A Chosen Novel
Published: March 21, 2015
Author's Twitter: @jeffaltabef
Juliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can’t make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense. When she stumbles upon a series of murders she can’t help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there’s some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her. All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average—could never be average. Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny

Destiny
Author:
Published: October 4, 2014
Author's Twitter: @SMSpencerAuthor
Set in Australia this YA paranormal romance is the story of Lili who, while looking for her destiny, finds herself in a world filled with vampires and ghosts. Destiny: ‘The predetermined or inevitable path a person must follow.’ When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born. But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him. Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life.

Reviewed 

4 Stars

Lili McIntyre just ended a difficult relationship and is now on a much-needed summer vacation to Melbourne, Australia for a few months. Her aunt Debs welcomes her Down Under and provides her with a chance to clear her head. On the plane, Lili meets Claire, and that new friendship introduces her to more than she dreamed of. Though Claire doesn’t know it, her new boyfriend, Tom, has an enormous secret. The oblivious Claire introduces Lili to Sam, Tom’s close friend. As a natural double-date, Sam and Lili find themselves thrown together and soon discover a growing attraction.

Soon, Lili discovers why Sam and Tom behave so strangely. They are vampires! Suddenly a world of the supernatural opens up to Lili and her heart will lead her to help Sam keep his secret identity and defend the city from conflicts begun in ages past.

Destiny is an enjoyable book with a fun take on the vampire genre, full of characters created with affection and care. Lili’s struggle to determine her future and the pressures from home struck a chord with me. She feels the urgency to decide her future and move forward, although the hugeness of the decision overwhelms her.

The American/Australian crossover made me wonder through the tale about the author’s origins, but I think I know. Some telling word choice clued me in. I loved hearing about life in Melbourne and all the interesting trips the characters took nearby. Though some of Melbourne’s history appears in the book, I would have like to learn more.

I appreciated the potential for the tale to discuss the subject of abuse. I think that young women, especially, need reinforcement that abuse is real, encouragement that they don’t have to endure it, and illustrations of what it really looks like. Plenty of speakers and nonfiction writers share about abuse, but tales of people enduring and overcoming it reach us in a different, sometimes more personal way.

Lili wonders through the tale why she isn’t scared that Sam is a vampire. I know why: it’s because none of the vampires in this book are the slightest bit scary. Romance and good looks trump blood-drinking. Any slip of the teeth is slight and polite to the extent that Claire never once discovers their identity. Even the scenes that should be thrilling and terrifying lose their teeth because of the detached and passive way the author describes them. My take is that the trouble lies in the author’s unwillingness to make the characters suffer. She loves them too much. Any problem is short and quickly resolved without the pain that blood-drinking romantic interests should pose.

Aside from the pressured calm of the tale, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the second book in the trilogy to find the answers to the problems that Lili hasn’t solved yet. Four stars.

Mystical Mountain Magic – Redeemer

Mystical Mountain Magic – Redeemer
An infant girl is rescued and raised by giant eagles and is commissioned by a living volcano to restore Hope back into the world before the Deceiver can assassinate her.    

Reviewed by Awesome Indies' Assessor

February 12, 2015

Imaginative and allegorical

This sequel to “Deceiver” carries us on a new path with Erickson the now vagrant ex-pirate. The living stone he tried to steal took his sanity and left him with nothing but booze to ease the maddening reality of his own evil. From the town of Pandemonium he becomes caught up unwillingly in the schemes of Razor, a truly evil man and servant of the Minstrel. Awake and fully manifested, the Minstrel now aims to attack the living mountain, Misty, and kill Hope. Razor plays an important role in her attack. On a trail of death and brutality, Erickson follows Razor toward Elysium and up the forbidden face of Misty. Can Mariah save Hope from the Minstrel, Razor, and all the forces the Minstrel has amassed? Will the natives nearby survive the battle? Will Erickson succumb to the evil inside him or rise above and embrace redemption?

I loved how this new approach embraced the character of Erickson. His terrible crimes and fantastic defeat in Deceiver fit the ending of the typical villain, but this book followed him after in a compassionate and truthful look at the vanquished monster. Without excusing any of his evils, Guy showed us Erickson’s broken, twisted heart and the wreck he became once his transgressions led him to utter defeat. I didn’t know what would happen or where Erickson’s journey could lead. The path he took and the changes it made in him captivated my interest and my sympathy.

The previous main characters had only a supporting role, more toward the end of the story this time, but their journey was no less fantastic. Guy surprised me more with how the story would unfold and what the characters would have to face. I began to see the allegory of it more toward the end and understand a bit of what the story represented.

Occasionally, I felt, the plot did wander a bit and lose focus, though not for too long. The light bouncing between characters contributed to my difficulty anticipating where the story meant to go. The ending meandered a bit more than I like, but offered a lot of wrap-up for all the characters.

Redeemer takes an imaginative and allegorical path through a fantastic world of talking beasts, black-hearted villains, destruction, and redemption. I felt both reluctant and satisfied at the end of this fantastic story of the Mountain of Misty.

Mystical Mountain Magic – Deceiver

Mystical Mountain Magic – Deceiver
An infant girl is rescued and raised by giant eagles and is commissioned by a living volcano to restore Hope back into the world before the Deceiver can assassinate her. Set in early North America, evil fell from the stars and exploded against the mountain. Enticed by this three-legged master musician – the Deceiver – treasure seekers from all over the world come to this unspoiled country in search of their lust’s desire. As they create mayhem on this continent, an infant girl – Mariah – is rescued and raised by giant eagles that nest high on the cliffs of Elysium where she is commissioned by the mountain to restore Hope to a world without hope and save mankind from its disastrous effects before the Deceiver can assassinate her.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

This story had everything I could ask for.

The world has become a harsh and hopeless place, and the only hope for it lies in the mountain of Misty.

In the forests around Misty live two refugees and their baby girl who will play a key role in the mountain’s plans. Yes, the mountain has plans, along with his unusual friend. The natives who live at the base of the mountain and even the animals will all play a part in the plan, because a terrible creature has invaded their home. With its beautiful, haunting song it will lead them to destruction purely for its own enjoyment. This monster and its unknown plans threaten to destroy the only chance for hope in to return to the world.

Deceiver is a delightfully whimsical story, reminiscent of a Native American folk tale. The vibrant characters drew me in and pulled me through a story that kept me guessing what could possibly happen next. With so many reboots and formulaic novels out there, it is really refreshing to be able to enjoy a story that keeps me wondering.

I especially enjoyed the character of Misty. Seldom have I read about a living mountain and I loved to hear how Guy brought a geological formation to life. And he certainly did!

Aside from a little bit of poetry that worried me a little, this story had everything I could ask for. The story is written as the beginning of a series, not so much a stand-alone story. The ending made me impatient to see how the characters fare after their fantastic adventure, so I am excited to read and review the second book next.

 

The Christmas Dragon

The Christmas Dragon
Published: February 13, 2014
Author's Twitter: @ruthannereid
All Katie Lin wants is to get away from her family: from the magic, from the mayhem, and from the never-ending war. Unfortunately, running away doesn’t always work as planned.   Katie Lin is special, but she really doesn’t want to be. Descendent of one of the few families of “humans” who can use magic, Katie long ago grew tired of the constant fight over magical heritage, land rights, and power struggles with other members of the magical Mythos.  Unfortunately, she didn’t run far enough: one day, a box appears on her doorstep. A box with a just-hatched baby dragon.  The baby dragon inside is a magical mess, and Katie flees to the only family member she trusts: the only and only legendary Merlin. It figures he’s gone missing, and with the Wild Hunt on the baby dragon’s trail, Katie runs amuck of dragon royalty, the Crow King, and at least one reluctant elf prince.  So much for escape. Sometimes, running away just doesn’t work as planned.    

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland

This is a great little story. I really enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few Are Chosen

Few Are Chosen
Charming outlaw with own transport and limited social skills seeks lucrative, employment at minimal risk.  When you're running from a murderous government and work for an equally murderous gangster, accidentally torching his apartment is a bad move.  The Pan of Hamgee just wants a quiet life but destiny has other plans.   The Pan of Hamgee isn’t paranoid. There must be some people in K’Barth who aren’t out to get him. Unfortunately, right now, he’s not sure where they are. His family are dead, and his existence is treason. To survive he does the only thing he can – getaway driving. As if being on the run isn’t bad enough, he finds a magic thimble and decides to keep it. This can only mean trouble and sure enough, it does. By doing so, he unwittingly sets himself on a collision course with Lord Vernon, K’Barth’s despot ruler. Unwillingly, The Pan is forced to make choices and stand up for his beliefs. It’s a challenge, since previously he had no beliefs he was aware of. But faced with a stark moral dilemma, he realises his new found integrity might even stick… if he can stop running.

Reviewed by DL Morrese

February 7, 2013

5 stars

This is a cross-genre story that feels like it should be classified somewhere between Doctor Who and Discworld. I’m calling it science fiction rather than fantasy because at one point the ‘magic’ is described as the clever application of the strange effects of quantum mechanics. This is no more outlandish than the Doctor’s TARDIS, although instead of the unlikely time travel of Doctor Who, this story includes travel between our reality and an unlikely alternate dimension.

It’s an interesting place.

This alternate Earth is run as a police state, and our reluctant hero, The Pan of Hamgee, is a Goverment Blacklisted Indivdual. His existence is therefore illegal, and the fact that he has survived as a GBI for five years, which is about four and a half years longer than normal, proves that he is very good at not being caught. This talent comes to the attention of Big Merv, a major crime boss, who recruits him as his new getaway driver.  For the Pan of Hamgee, this is good news for two reasons. As a GBI, no legitimate employer will hire him, and Merv’s other option was dumping him in the river – with cement overshoes – but these are details we don’t need to go into here.

This story has flying car chases, a bad guy you love to loath, likable gangsters, and a hero you can really identify with since, like most of us, he’s not terribly heroic – at least not intentionally. He reminds me a bit of Rincewind in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. He’s a professional coward whose talent for getting into unintended trouble is only exceeded by his talent for escaping from it. All he wants is a simple, normal life, but the universe seems to have another fate planned for him. The book also has a few laughs, a lot of smiles, and even a bit of political and religious satire. There are far too few books like this. Great characters, interesting setting, humor, and cultural satire, with a genuinely good plot providing a framework holding them together is a hard blend to achieve and an even more difficult one to do well. This book does.

The prose is well executed with just enough description for the reader to visualize the scenes. Backstory, where needed, is integrated seamlessly into the narrative. Dialog is believable and suitable to the characters and to the situation. Grammar, spelling, formatting, and other of technical requirements of the storyteller’s trade that sometimes pose a problem for the independent writer are executed professionally in this book.

It passes my personal 5-star test. In addition to all the basics needed for a well-told tale, it has that something extra that would prompt me to read it again. I enjoyed following the misadventures of The Pan of Hamgee, a likeable sod thrown into an uncomfortable situation in an imaginative world that has certain parallels to our own. I highly recommend it to readers of lighthearted speculative fiction or anyone who may be looking for something a bit different and a lot of fun.

 

Reviewed by Richard Bunning

5 stars

This is a good comic fantasy title off the same sort of humorous planet as writers like Tom Holt, Ben Elton, and Terry Prachett. There is satire and certainly parody, and as with those listed she has the gift of dramatic timing. In other words, MT McGuire is in great, Great British, comic company. The fact that she used to do stand-up comedy doesn’t surprise me a bit.
I’m sure it helps to be a Brit to catch all the clever turns of phrase in this book, but those from once were distant outposts of Britannia will get just as much out of this read; even The ‘us’ should be able to catch the crest of her comic wave.
Of course, if you are not into Peter Cook, John Cleese, Jennifer Saunders, Sandi Toksvig, or MT McGuire Authorholic then you probably won’t like K’Barthan books either. Get a life!

The Silver Collar

The Silver Collar
Categories: ,
Published: April 20, 2012
Author's Twitter: @KatePolicani
Lyneth suffers under a curse, relieved only with a silver collar. Her dangers increase as she matures and life takes a drastic turn. Bought as a child to slave at an inn, Lyneth suffers under a terrible curse. Her frightening transformations can only be stopped when a priest places a silver collar around her neck. The collar stops the change, but makes her ill. Her dangers increase as she matures into a beautiful and desirable woman. When a mysterious nobleman visits the inn, her life changes forever.