Tag Archives: Fiction

Review: The Mirror of the Moon by Travis Simmons

After a rather flamboyant start with The Bonds of Blood (The Revenant Wyrd Saga Book 1), Travis Simmons jumps right into the story ,where he left off, with The Mirror of the Moon.

Jovian, Angelica and Joya Neferis are on a quest to rescue their sister Amber, who has been abducted by an evil sorceress, with the help of their elusive guide Grace. As their journey progresses they soon realize that there is more to Grace than meets the eye and she hasn’t been telling them the whole truth. The series of unfortunate, sinister and dark events that are unfolding have larger implications and involve all of them to a larger conspiracy of evil.

As a sequel The Mirror of the Moon is as action packed and detailed as The Bonds of Blood but, it tends to lose pace right in the middle of the drama. Every time Simmons switches between scenes there are a few pages where the writer, the reader and the characters are all lost in the woods and then they suddenly get their act together and start being exciting again! As a traveller, I understand that because there are periods of monotony or inaction during every journey. But, this is a book, a journey of epic proportions undertaken in a magical space by the Neferis children who are a part of a greater plot, so, I would expect a little more excitement. However, there is no compromise on the writers part when it comes to creating this magical space. The astonishing details brings the world alive for readers. Every culture, character, creature that the Neferis children meet has a rich cultural background thus reinforcing the idea of the magical world they live in and also providing  a believable context for the reader.

If you have been following the Revenant Wyrd Saga I suggest you read The Mirror of the Moon. If you are not, please do go back and read The Bonds of Blood.

The Revenant Wyrd Saga cannot be and should not be read as stand alone books because every story is connected to a greater consciousness, or as the blurb suggests one consciousness. Evil or good is yet to be revealed.

The Mirror Of The Moon (The Revenant Wyrd Saga #2) 

The exciting sequel to The Bonds of Blood.

In the mystical lands of the Great Realms,twenty-one year-old Angelica, Jovian, and Joya pair up with their mentor Grace in pursuit of their kidnapped sister and heir to their plantation, Amber. Their quest suddenly changes when an ancient enemy of their family, Porillon, appears with Amber. A dangerous battle ensues, threatening one of their lives, and a new insight about their family is revealed, making the group question what Grace knows, and what she might be hiding. Porillon slips away with Amber, but Angelica and Jovian’s visions hint that their sister may have been taken to the Mirror of the Moon, an ancient temple dedicated to the Goddess.

Finding sanctuary with the elves and dwarves in the Mountains of Nependier, the group presses Grace to answer questions about their family’s past. Their insistence leads to a revelation the youths aren’t ready to handle. While they are still reeling from the news, Angelica and Jovian begin to feel a strange new consciousness waking inside of them, and what’s more unnerving, it’s taking over their individual thoughts…and joining them into one.

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About the Author
Travis has been writing since he was 14.  He began writing a book called “The Calling of the Two” and while writing that on and off he started uncovering another idea.

“Yes, this is all well and good, but what about before? What happened in the world before these characters came into it?” He always knew there was a “before” and as he started wondering about it he got ideas. At first they were little ideas but as he discovered the names for his characters a whole story about them emerged.Travis started working on The Revenant Wyrd Saga several years back and he is very happy he did because hearing and documenting Jovian and Angelica’s story has been one wild ride for him.  He has also written the Infernal Design series.

He lives in a small town at the base of the Adirondack Mountains and hoofing around my neck of the woods gives him a ton of inspiration for his novels.   He loves research, and speculating on different ideas and theories.


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J. D. Robb #atozchallenge

concealed in deathMuch as I have loved reading Nora Roberts’ aka J.D. Robb’s in Death series over the years, I am sorry to say that I’ll have to stop reading them. There are 41 books in the series now and up until book 36, Calculated in Death, high standards of writing, plot and characters were maintained. However, there was a gradual deterioration after that and the latest, Concealed in Death, appears to be written by someone else completely. I do not recognize the style of writing and there is a distinct lack of clarity in the plot. It is as if someone tried to copy J. D. Robb but did a bad job.

However, I am grateful for all the happy times and edgy moments I’ve had with the series. Two of my favourites being:

n269271. Naked in Death, this is the first book in the series, where the readers are introduced to Eve Dallas a NYPSD (New York Police and Security Department, a fictional mid 21st century police department created by the author) Lieutenant and a business tycoon Roarke, who is another major character throughout the series.

Naked in Death completely hooked me and I knew this was a series I had to follow. The in Death books have every ingredient that I love. There is crime, drama, romance, fantasy and a bit of futuristic thrown in.


To those who haven’t read the series please follow the link down below to the J.D. Robb website. The ‘story so far’ as quoted below is from the fans section of the website.


Spoiler Alert! Contains key plot points from the In Death series. Please see the full books list for a quick series reference.

The In Death series begins in the year 2058 (with Naked in Death, July 1995), after an outbreak of warfare a few decades earlier known as the Urban Wars wreaked havoc across the globe and led to widespread destruction and death. After the wars, cities focused on renewal and revitalization. A series of resorts and vacation spots, such as Vegas II, exist off-planet in space, which is also where the majority of prison populations exist. On-planet, streets are filled with cars on the ground and in the air, able to switch between hovering and driving. Multiple high-tech gadgets exist in this era, like the AutoChef, which cooks meals and brews coffee, and ‘links, which are types of videophones used as a means of communication, but can also transfer data and hold information, almost like a circa 2010 PDA or smart phone.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas works as a homicide detective for the NYPSD (New York Police and Security Department). In the first book of the series, Naked in Death, Eve is a loner when she first meets Roarke, an enigmatic Irish billionaire and a suspect in her most recent case. Although it jeopardizes her case and her career, she falls for him and Roarke becomes her first and only love. They get engaged at the end of Glory in Death, the second book, after Roarke replicates Eve’s former apartment in his house and she moves in. Eve continues to grapple with their relationship and her growing dependence on him during the first two books. The couple is married shortly after the end of book three, Immortal in Death.

It is Eve’s childhood that continues to torment her: she was abused and repeatedly molested by her father, a seasoned criminal, and her apathetic mother was a drug addict and prostitute. At age eight, Eve was found in an alley in Dallas, Texas, covered in blood and with no memory of who she was or what happened. She was given the name Eve and put into foster care. Eve’s foster mother was no saint in the ten years that she had Eve under her roof, and she resurfaces in Memory in Death (book twenty-three), to blackmail Roarke to keep Eve’s childhood out of the headlines. Because of her ability to solve the more difficult and high-profile cases, Eve had recently become a media darling.

Through nightmare flashbacks, Eve comes to learn what happened to her before her childhood memory loss and has the worst of these in Immortal in Death (book three) when she realizes she stabbed her father to death while he was attacking her. Eve begins to piece together the fragments of her childhood from these flashbacks, and more than once, it involves a connection to a current case, like in Judgment in Death (book eleven), where the perpetrator was a business associate of her father’s, and from whom her father stole money. Once Eve marries Roarke, the nightmares become less wracking because he is one of the few people in her life to give her unconditional love and she feels safe with him. Throughout their relationship, their previous demons become less haunting as they build a life of love and trust, the first real family either has ever known.

Though Eve has solved homicides of every conceivable nature, she doesn’t solve every case immediately, or sometimes at all. A recent case came back to haunt Eve in Creation in Death (book twenty-five), when a serial killer who she never caught, nicknamed The Groom, returned to claim Eve as his final kill. But because of her own horrific childhood, the cases Eve finds most difficult are those centered on missing and exploited children and she often becomes deeply entrenched in the lives of the victims, seeking justice with an obsessive intensity.

Eve is an honest cop, though her passion for the job leads her to sometimes make emotional decisions that come back to haunt her. In fact, much of Eve’s strength comes from her flaws. She has been investigated by Internal Affairs, even having her badge taken away in Conspiracy in Death (book eight) when she is suspected of killing another cop. In Ceremony in Death (book five), Eve takes on a case behind the back of her former partner and mentor Captain Feeney, and puts strain on their relationship.

Many of Eve’s cases also have a personal impact on her and Roarke, especially given both of their fathers have extensive criminal pasts. In Divided in Death (book nineteen), Roarke confirms that his father was in Dallas doing business with Eve’s father right before she killed him in self-defense, connecting the two even then. In Judgment in Death (book eleven), a former business associate of Roarke’s is seeking retaliation by attempting to kill Eve. In many ways, this couple was destined to be together.

As Eve’s trust grows, she allows others in, and even begins to depend on them, forming a tight circle of confidantes, colleagues, and friends, who are all recurring characters in the series

                       Source: J.D. Robb.com

download2. Conspiracy in Death is a favourite for no other reason than it complicates matters by Eve Dallas being suspended from the job while on an investigation. This story tests the strength of each character profile. What I enjoy about these books are how strong all the women characters are, somewhere women in the world now would like to be. However, strong female characters does not mean that the males are weak. They are not. It is a beautiful and ideal balance. What is not to love about a world where you can fly over the approaching traffic and escape it!

Gender equality is a reality. Man has conquered other planets and the common man can travel there. Unfortunately quality of air travel has deteriorated for the economy traveller. Both, for intercontinental as well as inter-galactic.

I’ll be sad not to read about life in the 2060’s any longer but I’ll keep an eye out for reviews. If the next book is better and more authentic than the last, then, why not?

Review: Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

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 ‘A bone-chilling debut novel with unexpected twists. Sarah Hilary has opened new possibilities and perspectives in the realm of crime fiction with her novel Someone Else’s Skin.’

As a crime and mystery aficionado I always play a guessing game with myself, while reading crime fiction. I am thrilled to say that I failed this time. Sarah Hilary’s Someone Else’s Skin is eerily unpredictable. With quite a few story lines, it is not until you are half way through, that you see light. The beginning is like a mass of untidy knitting where every tangled yarn confuses you more. However, when you see light at the end of the tunnel, you have unraveled the mystery just like DI Marnie Rome and you also realize, that the confusion in the beginning is not confusion at all, but exactly what the characters feel.

The multiple themes of crime and violence are dealt with very well and you understand how skilled Hilary is. The author did not tread softly around sensitive issues like gender, culture,race and sexual violence, instead she had a very sympathetic approach to it, which made the plot and the characters very believable and real to the readers.

Ayana Mirza and Stephen’s story was left hanging in the air and I wish there was more to it because the story starts with these two characters in a pivotal role. They are abruptly cut off as soon as DS Noah Jakes and DI Marnie find the not-quite body in the refuge.

However Sarah Hilary has shown a lot of promise and talent and I will definitely recommend the book to Crime Fiction and contemporary novel readers.

I am a Lovereading Reviewer Panel member and  I received this book in return of my honest opinion. This review can also be found on  Lovereading.co.uk

Amrita Dasgupta

Review: The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander

Ruby slippers

How can a smelly old bag lady change your life? That is exactly what the characters in this social drama thought about their unkempt acquaintance, Rosa. But things changed after her death when a pair of Ruby slippers were found in her possession.

Not unlike Cinderella’s glass shoe and Dorothy’s magic shoes, the shoe metaphor has a pivotal role to play in this urban fairy tale. The Ruby slippers entranced everybody and drew out the good, bad and ugly in everyone. It enticed, teased and gave them new hopes and desperate dreams.

Michael the Grocer goes on a journey of self exploration, where he learns more about his life and his Aunt Rosa’s. Despite the odds and pressure, unlike some others, he remains resolute that the ruby slippers is a sign of beauty and hope in their lives and not a sudden windfall.

Keir Alexander’s debut novel has shown mastery over plot and character building. Creating many multi-dimensional characters in a compelling and convoluted story is no mean feat. Although I found the novel well paced, it might appear slow to some. But I believe the plot and the build up needed the gentle walk-in-the-park treatment quite unlike the mad rush of New York City.

I am a Lovereading review panel member and I received an ARC for my honest and unbiased opinion of the book. Published by Constable and Robinson the book will be available on Amazon and Lovereading.co.uk from 20 March 2014.

Review: The Weight of a Feather and Other Stories by Judy Croomer

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“The promise implicit in an anthology is that it aspires to present something different, unexpected” Joyce Carol Oates (Introduction to The Oxford Book of American Short Stories) From the classical form of ‘The Weight of a Feather’, first published by The Huffington Post (2013), to the suggestive allegory of ‘The Leopard and The Lizard’, this collection of short stories by South African author Judy Croome is an ideal mix of the familiar and the startling. These vibrant slices of life testify to the mysterious and luminous resources of the human spirit. Whether feeling the harrowing emotion in ‘The Last Sacrifice’ or the jauntiness of ‘Jannie Vermaak’s New Bicycle’, the reader will delight in a plethora of stories that cross boundaries to both challenge and entertain with their variety.


Judy Croome is a fantastic storyteller. She takes the reader on a journey through life and its various nuances. All of Croome’s stories have a message that the reader can take away, the sign of a brilliant short story. If a story makes an impact on you then, you are more likely to repeat it to your friends and thus spread its popularity. The anthology starts of with ‘The Weight of a Feather’, which deals with the sudden milestones of growing up. Learning curves which are not necessarily forgivable.

In a flowing but often brutal style the characters and their tangible emotions leap off their pages. ‘One can feel like a voyeur peeking vicariously into a person’s life, or be swept into a nightmare.’ as one Goodreads reviewer wisely states. Even stories like The Biter Bit and The Negotiation, short as they are, reverberate with your conscience a long time later.

The stories in this anthology are something you would read in a newspaper with your morning cup of tea, or the last thing you read on the train and often think about it at work. It is very easy to imagine what the characters might have done next after the story ends. Such is the beauty and poignancy of the authors writing and the versatility of the genre.

Judy Croome

About the author:

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories and poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, such as the Huffington Post and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. Her books “The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available. Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.) She is currently researching child murders for her next novel and you can visit Judy on www.judycroome.com or join her on Twitter @judy_croome , Facebook and Goodreads.

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Excerpt: Far-Knowing by Melinda Brasher

Far-Knowing Book Cover

“I picked this up from a trader a few days back. Would you take a look at it, tell me what you think it’s worth?” Kallinesha kept the ring in her fist, out of sight, so Daistar would have to take it in his own hand to examine it.

He stared at her fist, stared into her eyes. Then he reached out and she dropped it into his waiting hand. Instantly she felt more alive, freed of the sleep enchantment bound to the ring. She set her hand on her dagger, just in case.

He turned it over in his hand several times. His eyes should be drooping by now. He should be thinking of his nice soft bed, the smooth linen, the quiet peace of an afternoon nap. But when he spoke there was nothing sleepy about his words. “It’s gold, I believe, but not very fine work.”

The baron leaned forward. “I hope you didn’t pay much for it.”

What? The beauty enchantment should have dazzled a man like the baron, who clearly liked his comfort. But when Kallinesha looked again at the ring, it no longer sparkled as before.

Daistar was staring at her again, and she feared she’d exposed her surprise.

“Maybe if you put it on…” she faltered.

He slid it halfway down his ring finger, twisted it, held it out to admire it, then took it off again. He grabbed her wrist, roughly, and pressed the ring into her palm. The sleep enchantment, she knew at once, was gone. How had he broken it so quickly? Mistress took hours to unravel spells as strong as the ones they’d cast. This was power as she’d never before seen. She had to stop him. She tightened her hold on the dagger. She’d only have one chance. It had to be his throat. But his hand was still on her wrist, and he tightened his grip.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you,” he whispered, as pain burst into life where he touched her.

His other hand, she saw, was on his own dagger, and she was sure beyond any doubt, without any magic to tell her so, that he’d had a lifetime more practice than she had. A mage and a warrior.

She took her hand off her dagger, jerked away from him, and stood up.

“Baron Selkimear, I believe I must see to my servant. Thank you for the sumptuous refreshment.”

She fully expected not to live to see the outside of the dining hall.

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