Book Review “TITANBORN” Rhett C. Bruno

synopsis

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a Collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else–especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders. 

But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth. 

Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.

Titanborn Cover

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First lines: Somewhere outside New London, Earth, a tall, lanky Ringer named Nash stood within the cargo hold of an umarked transport shuttle. He was human, but three centuries of his people living on Titan had stretched their bodies and bleached their flesh. He wore a white armored suit with an orange circle painted on the chest.

Titanborn has all the elements of a best seller! Between the corporate greed and rivalries, Bruno plants the seeds of a tale that is really as old as our species. It’s the tale of right over wrong. It’s the tale of the oppressed subjugating their oppressors. ¡Viva la Revolucion!    

Among the many thought provoking elements to this novel is the evolution of our species if left on another planet for generations and how “Earth born” or the “unevolved” would see them. I think Bruno adequately represented this dilemma by weaving in the inevitable discrimination and dehumanization this situation would likely inherit. With terms like “off-worlder” and other monikers, the segregation of the different and the “original” delivers a disturbing realism to the thread of fiction. 

Another encouraging piece of this novel is the skillful evolution of Malcolm. Watching him reevaluate his employer and his past was an enlightening experience.  Clearly, old dogs can learn new tricks.

Bruno’s writing is fluid and captivating. This is definitely an author to keep an eye on. This story has many layers and Bruno skillfully weaves them together to create a world believable and hauntingly realistic. 

Zhaff was a striking character. He embodied all the things that Malcolm thought he was. It was interesting to watch the play between the two characters and how it ultimately changed Malcolm. 

The end is an absolute surprise on one hand and not so shocking on the other. Towards the end of the book, I started to guess who one of the “terrorists” were but the other events that unfolded were a complete surprise.

I found no faults with this book. It is well developed and well written.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Titanborn | Author(s): Rhett C. Bruno |Publisher: Hydra / Publication Date: 06-21-2016 |Pages: 209 (Print) | ISBN: B018CHA2R  | Genre(s): Science Fiction  | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-26-2016 | Source: Copy from author

Book Review “Into The Dark”John Royce

 synopsis

“Into the Dark” is Book #3 of “The Legend of the Great Horse” trilogy, an award-winning time-travel adventure which takes the reader on a journey through the ages when horses were everyday companions in work, war, sport and spectacle. The story is told through the eyes of a young woman, a horse-crazy teenager traveling through history with knowledge of 21st Century horsemanship as her only defense.

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First lines: “What’s that you found, Red?”
Meagan felt a blast of horse breath in her ear. She raised herself on her elbows, squinting into the bright sun. Dry dust coated the inside of her mouth and her head throbbed with pain. Promise, this isn’t home.

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Into the Dark is the last book in the Legend of the Great Horse trilogy. As our journey with Meagan comes to a very unanticipated end, the story continues to capture the imagination and emotions as well, if not better than the first two books. The story is swarming with revelations, history, action and (finally) a bit of romance. We even get a glimpse into a very unappealing and suppressed possible future.

Meagan and Dan didn’t have the most auspicious start. Their “relationship” was very rewarding for me as a reader. The journey of their story is my favorite part of the entire trilogy. It came across as very authentic and genuine. Out of all the characters in The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, Dan is the one I feel like I know the most. Other than the main character (Meagan), of course.

The history portrayed in this and all the books in this trilogy are as close as your going to get to being there. John Royce took a few liberties but, all in all I feel like I’ve just returned from a short sojourn to the wild west. I continue to be dazzled by his capacity to weave fact with fiction.

The characters remain strikingly realistic and there is a very unpredictable (at least for me) twist at the end of the story.

John Royce’s writing is fluid and captivating. The entire trilogy comes full circle for a grand finale that ties up every single loose end. 

Additionally, I would like to add that the story had a happyish ending. Usually, this kind of “ish” ending would have me a bit irritable. However, for this story the ending was satisfying and appropriate. 

I am happy to say Into the Dark (like its predecessors) has earned the full five stars.

5 stars

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To see our reviews of the other books in this trilogy, click the title’s below!

Eclipsed by Shadow

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The Technical Data:

Title: Into the Dark | Author(s): John Royce | Series: The Legend of the Great Horse (Trilogy)| Publisher: Micron Press / Publication Date: 12-3-2013 |Pages: 282 (Print Edition) | ISBN: 978-0972412100   | Genre(s): Young Adult/ Science Fiction/ Historical Fiction |Language:English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-22-2016 | Source: Copy From Author

Invisible

Last weekend I helped a local Democrat canvass a neighborhood in our district. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s basically where you knock on peoples doors, hand out information and try to convince people to vote. 

In true Oklahoma fashion, it rained and immediately after was blisteringly hot. I was paired with a retired teacher. Since she was advanced in age we agreed that she would be the driver and I would do the knocking and talking.

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After hours of hitting the pavement I came upon a house with a gaggle of children ranging in age from around 2 to pre-pubescent in the yard. The adults present were a 60’s something couple. After talking to them for a minute the woman opened up and told me all about the children.

All eight of the kids were their grandchildren that they were raising. The mothers of the children were drug addicts who had lost custody.

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The woman went on to tell me that the raggedy house behind them only had three bedrooms. Her and her husband slept in the living room so the kids would all have bedrooms.

She asked me if that was something that the candidate I was supporting would care about. She told me all about the things the state had promised to do to help with raising the kids. Turns out, after the paperwork was said and done…all those things the state told her they would be eligible for…they weren’t. She said they would of taken the kids regardless but it would of given them a heads up on what they needed to prepare for.

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The kids were happy and clearly very loved. One of the boys (around 7) won’t speak. He communicates via gestures. When I asked her about him, she told me he can speak but he chooses not to and hasn’t for years.

Someone abused this child so badly that he won’t speak anymore. 

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I learned how the kids all saw counselors and how her husbands Navy pension paid for some of it but not all. 

With a loving look at the children she turned to me and told me that she is doing the best she can for them but a lot of the time she feels like their struggles are invisible to the world.

Here was this old woman who clearly had health issues pouring her heart out to me….a complete stranger.

Her authenticity struck me right to my core. 

I’ve been through the foster system myself. I’ve seen first hand the suffering and the indifference of those who witness the effects. 

When I got back into the car tears started streaming down my face. The old woman I was paired with gently asked me what happened. I told her and she kindly comforted me. The rest of the day my mind was on that family. My mind kept replaying her words “We are invisible to the world”. 

When I got home I loaded all of my sons clothes he couldn’t wear, a spare bedset that we had and didn’t use and various other items. I told my husband about the situation and we loaded up and drove to their house.

I was so nervous when we arrived. With shaking hands I knocked on their door.

The woman answered and was very surprised to see me. 

I told her that she wasn’t invisible. Not to me. I told her that she was an amazing person for caring for all those children.

I told her that if it mattered at all, I saw what they were going through and it mattered to me.

With tears in her eyes she reached out and wrapped me in a hug.

My heart swelled. 

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I asked her if she wanted the things I had brought. She introduced me to all of the children and they were beautiful. Every single one of them was precious and I am better for knowing them. 

I wrote down clothes sizes and diaper sizes. From now on, whenever I can, I will help them in anyway I can.

Because no one should feel they are invisible.

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TITANBORN – New Release!

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a Collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else–especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders. 

But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth. 

Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.

Titanborn Cover

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Rhett has been writing since before he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic stories when he was young to show to his friends and family. He currently works at an Architecture firm, but that hasn’t stopped him from recording the tales bouncing around inside of his head. Rhett is the author of “The Circuit Series” and “Titanborn.”

He’s happy to hear from his fans and can be reached at rcbruno44@outlook.com!

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Book Review “Delivering Virtue” by Brian Kindall

synopsis

Didier Rain, bumbling ne’er-do-well and dissolute poet, is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a child-bride across the American frontier of 1854 to their prophet Nehi in his stronghold at the City of Rocks. The landscape is rife with hooligans, carnal temptations, and acts of God or Mother Nature that threaten to avert Rain from fulfilling the righteous prophecy.

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First lines: Fittingly, and with the suspect irony of a prank fabricated by one of the more mischievous gods on their mountaintop, I first met Virtue after an epic bout of debauchery.

I want to start off by saying that this was the most unique narration I have ever come across. Didier Rain is a man who has many sides. He was debonair and exuberant. He was smooth and eloquent. He was spruce and spry. But, he was also rakish and licentious. 

Rain was a dandy of the time and while searching for his own words to meld into the poetry he so loves he has a need for what we all need…money. 

Rain is an educated man who is tasked with delivering a female child to an off-shoot branch of the Mormon church. She is a tiny infant when they begin the journey and the trip takes very unexpected and in some places very immoral turns. 

I found the contrast of the educated and eloquent Rain and the depraved Rain to be very conflicting for me as a reader. There is so much good to the man but there is also a whole lot of bad. Reading the story through his perspective was intriguing to say the least. 

The only complaint I have about this book is the glossed over rape. Rain isn’t the best of men but that had to of been a very traumatic as well as painful experience. 

The story telling is vibrant and the characters libidinous. There are drastic opposites in this book as well. Like Virtue, she stays consistently good.

Throughout the book there is a lot of introspection about how Rain feels as well as his speculating how others around him feel. Due to this, I feel that most of what I know about the other characters is shaky. I think adding a bit more dialogue would help clear that up.

If I had to summarize what I think about this book, I would say it’s “The Odyssey” of the wild west with a swashbuckling dandy narrating and a journey of prophecy and magical realism. Add a pile of depraved characters and stir.

I couldn’t put it down. Definite 5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Delivering Virtue | Author(s): Brian Kindall | Publisher: Diving Boy Books  / Publication Date: 11-07-2015 |Pages: 252 (Paperback) | ISBN: 978-0990932864 | Genre(s): Historical / Magical Realism  |Language:English |
Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-18-2016 | Source: Copy from Author

Book Review “Pulse – When Gravity Fails” John Freitas

synopsis

The Alpha Centauri star system begins to collapse and the resulting gravitational waves reach our planet, creating strange phenomena around the globe, leaving the people who are affected by them wondering what in the world is going on. A scientist in an isolated observatory sees clues that tell him what is happening to the world may be bigger and more deadly than a few earthquakes and a few floating objects. Dr. Paulo Restrepo will have to race against time and the doubts of a world used to gravity behaving the same everywhere at every time. By the time he figures out the cause and what that means for the final approaching event, it might be too late, but he has to try.

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Although labeled as Sci-Fi, Pulse is also an Action novel. From beginning to end the book is a steady back and forth from one action scene to the next. It’s very fast paced.

Think “San Andreas Fault” type of film. If this book were a film that is. Honestly, I could see it translating pretty easily into a film. 

Since this is a small novella, there are a few things that you lose out on. Mainly, character depth. I will go on to say that even with little information, I still feel like I got a decent sense of who the characters were.

I really enjoyed the different perspectives throughout the book. It helps a smaller novel feel bigger than it is. The perspective I enjoyed the most was of Holden (child). His outlook on his parents divorce as well as the events that unfold was almost poetic. Out of all the characters in this book, I have to say Holden is my favorite. He comes across to me as an old soul. 

I don’t know enough about the science in this book to know if its probable or not. As a person who is ignorant of the subject, I felt it had the authenticity it needed to feel real.

The only real complaint I have about Pulse is that the ending felt a bit anit-climatic. There was this real sense of urgency with the characters and this intense build-up. Then…within a few sentences it was over. I was a bit annoyed to say the least.

I would also like to add that the book I was sent was a pre-edit copy. I am rating this a 4 on the promise from the author that he has since had it edited. 

Solid 4 star book!

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Pulse – When Gravity Fails | Author(s): John Freitas | Publisher: Create Space Indepedant Publishing  / Publication Date: 2-18-2016 |Pages: 102 (Paperback) | ISBN: 978-1530117567 | Genre(s): Science Fiction / Action  | Language:English |
Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-15-2016 | Source: Copy from Author

Your Voice Can Move Mountains.

This prompt comes from The Daily Post. Each day they post a new prompt. It really helps get the creative juices flowing. Check them out for yourself. You might find just the inspiration you’ve been looking for.

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On the rare occasion I am invited to a social gathering I can almost bet I’m going to hear someone talk about how awful our governing system is and how badly we need improvement.

I usually follow up that statement with “Did you vote to change it”? (My brusque demeanor is why I’m assuming I don’t get invited often)

The answer I usually get after I have asked this question is No. Then I get the explanation that voting doesn’t count anymore and as one person there isn’t anything he/she can do about it.

I absolutely detest this defeatist philosophy.

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Is it fair to say that your vote doesn’t matter? In some ways yes, yes it is. In light of the blatant political corruption we have faced during the current primary period, I think it is fair to assume it doesn’t matter. BUT, and yes there is a huge but to this ideology, you should vote anyway. By registering and showing up to vote your very presence is the first step to change. You must show that you’re paying attention. You must show that you aren’t going to stand idly by and blithely act as though nothing is happening.

That’s the first step. To show that you are, indeed, aware.

Follow that up with rallies and signs in your yard. Go to protests. Blow up social media with your discontent.

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Your voice will wake another and theirs another and so on until its deafening. You can do something about it. If you wait for someone else to do it then no one will.

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We all have our motivations for why we want change. This is the time to do it. This is the time to hold our ground. This is the time in history that is our own. We have the power to shape it as we choose. So, choose wisely.

One day you will have to explain why you stood up or why you sat down.

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Children’s Book Review “Solomon Crocodile” Catherine Rayner

synopsis

In his swampy home, Solomon is looking for fun but nobody wants to play. The dragonflies tell him to buzz off, the storks get in a flap, and the hippo is downright huffy. But then somebody else starts making a ruckus . . . and for once it is NOT Solomon. Could it be the perfect pal for a lonely croc? Matching vibrant art with rollicking words, Scottish artist Catherine Rayner has created a funny, reassuring story about a rambunctious youngster who chases off the friends he’s trying to make.

Solomon Crocodile Cover

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This is a sweet story about finding a like-minded friend. In a lot of ways this story reminded me of my son.  As I was reading it to him for the first time, I couldn’t help but wonder if my son sympathized with Solomon. After having the book for several days I can safely say he does. 

My son is a very energetic almost three year old and, like Solomon, is always getting into trouble. Not trouble per say, more like he is looking to have fun and make friends. 

You wouldn’t think that would be such a big deal for such a small child but, it is. Solomon has a lot of fun doing things that others don’t find very fun at all. Like Solomon, my son often has these same issues.

My son’s favorite part of the book is the ending. He told me it’s because Solomon has a friend.

Beautiful story.

Five Stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Solomon Crocodile | Author(s): Catherine Rayner | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux  / Publication Date: 12-20-2011 |Pages: 32 (Hardcover) | ISBN: 978-0374380649 | Genre(s): Children’s Fiction  | Language:English |
Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-8-2016 | Source: Copy from Library

Indie Author Spotlight – Emily Martha Sorensen

 

AlliesOpinions recently reviewed “The Keeper and the Rulership”. We loved it!

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Emily Sorensen Author Pic

Emily Martha Sorensen is the author of The Keeper and the Rulership, Black Magic Academy, and the Fairy Senses series.  She also writes and draws a webcomic that updates every Friday: To Prevent World Peace.

She has four adorable little monsters (*ahem* children), and her husband is magnificent, wonderful, and even a great writer in the bargain: he wrote the fantasy book Prophecy, and he has a second book forthcoming soon.

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The Interview

Q: “The Keeper and the Rulership” is definitely unique. What gave you the idea to begin writing it?

(Grin) This is gonna sound odd.  When I was twelve, my mom had a dream she told us about where we all had to move to another house, which magically had hundreds of rooms in it.  She told us about it, and I was so tickled about it that I wrote it as a short story.  Then I wrote another short story; then I wrote another, then another.  In all, I had four short stories, all interconnected, which formed an interesting arc.

At the beginning, Raneh was a royal jerk, and she had a rival figure.  The world was much more fairy tale and much less unique.  But the core of the story interested me, and I kept poking at it over the period of fifteen years.  At last, I went on a Georgette Heyer kick (after a friend recommended her to me), and I realized what it was The Keeper and the Rulership was lacking: I wanted the society to feel less fairy tale and more Regency.  The rest flowed naturally from there.

Q: The currency of “status” is a unique concept. What exactly is status and how does someone earn it?

Status is a magic system (not that they call it that) that is used as currency.  When people think well of you, they tend to unconsciously give you status.  When they think ill of you, they tend to unconsciously take it away.  Because status is money, most adults have trained themselves to not give or take status unconsciously anymore.

Giving a little bit of status, or taking a little bit, is usually used to show pleasure or displeasure with another person’s actions.  Rudeness will result in someone dinging your status.  Gratitude generally results in someone giving a little bit.  Currency is also used to buy goods, and it can be given (or taken) for any other reason, such as gift-giving.

That means it’s possible for anyone to take anyone else’s status (a.k.a. money), but it’s pretty hard for thieves to get away with anything, because a victim can take it back just as easily.  And society is, of course, disgusted with theft, so anyone who attempts to steal status is far more likely to find themselves destitute because everyone else will feel justified in snatching their status away.

To a lesser extent, status also affects your own (and other people’s) perception of how society feels about you.  People with a lot of status tend to be considered worthy of respect, because the presumption is that either they earned it, or they at least haven’t done anything that would cause them to lose it.

Q: How did the ruler come to power? I don’t recall this ever being explained in the book. I’m curious to know if this was an elected or inherited position.

Neither!  When the current Ruler dies, the Ruler’s first heir automatically becomes the new Ruler.  I guess you could say it’s inherited, but almost all of a Ruler’s heirs are adopted from other families, so she was not related to the Ruler who preceded her.  She was adopted as an heir, proved to be extremely competent, and gradually earned her way up to the coveted position of first heir.

Q: This society is very naturalistic in some ways and materialistic in others. We think of gardeners and farmers as simple people who are calm and easy going. In your society, people are worried about appearances and are complicated. Were these pre-existing conceptions hard to reconcile with your fictional society?

Honestly, that never even occurred to me.  Many noble families through history have been obsessed with gardens, and farming has been an essential method of food production for even longer.  I think maybe the perception of farmers as simple folk is a product of an urbanized society.

Q: When you write, is the story already present in your mind or does it slowly materialize as your writing progresses?

I usually start out with a strong core, including central conflict and viewpoint character, and many tiny details I am dying to work in.  Often I have the ending, though not always.  The rest materializes as I write it.

Q: If you were Raneh, what would the society you build look like?

I think the ideal society would be one that doesn’t even need money, because people just share with each other (voluntarily, not because somebody’s forcing them to).  A society where everyone is good and kind would not need many rules at all, so there could be a lot of flexibility and creativity and freedom.  Of course, a society with all good people would be very easy to keep going: practically any government or economic system would work perfectly and fairly.

Q: Do you have any writing quirks?

I write using WordPerfect.  I don’t mind OpenOffice, but I like WordPerfect better, and I hate Word.  I’ve also started laying out my books for print while I’m writing them.  This means I write a few paragraphs, paste them into my desktop publishing program, make them look good, and move on to the next few paragraphs.  If I’m not as sure of the story, I just write a rough draft and don’t worry about laying it out, but when I’m final drafting a scene, I’m writing and PDFing at the same time.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to when looking for inspiration?

I actually cherish silence.  I am hypersensitive to noise, and especially repetitive sounds or music.  I have to hear the words in order to be able to write.  Sound distracts me.  You might say I really can’t hear myself think.

If I’m not looking for inspiration, I tend to love music from awesome stories that have awesome soundtracks.  This includes everything from Star Wars to Phantom of the Opera to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the new one, not the old one — I didn’t like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a kid, and I don’t like it now).

If I’m just listening to random music, I find that J-pop seems to be my favorite musical genre.  Especially Ali Project and Yuki Kajiura.

Q: Other than writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I draw a comic, so I do an awful lot of art.  I decided to experiment with watercolor painting last year.  I’ll probably do more of it.  I used to crochet and cross-stitch, but I had to give those up if I wanted enough time to write (and writing was more important to me).  I sometimes do sculpting.  I try to play with my kids.

Just For Fun Questions:

Q: If you could time travel, where would you go and what would you do?

I love time travel!  Especially mind-pretzel stories.  I’d probably want to be a time tourist, exploring the past and experiencing it.  That would be fascinating.

Q: Imagine you are stranded on an island. What three things would you most want with you? (other than people, food, shelter and necessities for life)

I would want all of my books, an Internet connection, and a mailing address that stuff I bought online could be delivered to.  I think that about covers it.  😛

Q: If you could shape-shift into anything, what would you pick?

An angel.

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About The Book

In a world where both magic and mathematics are forbidden, Raneh is growing magic and she can’t seem to stop. She’ll face the death penalty if anybody catches her, so she hides it in the weeds of her family’s land, pretending to be a typical eighteen-year-old heir. And it works.

Until the Ruler comes to visit.

Now, with the purpose of the Ruler’s visit a mystery and not only her safety but her family’s reputation in danger, she has to find a way to do the impossible:

Stop growing magic.

The Keeper and the rulership cover

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