“The Fire And The Forge” Jack Geurts – Book Review

Would you rather be the conquered or the conqueror?

In a world where gods pull the strings of mortals and people wield the power of the elements, the nation of Libera is attacked by its age-old enemy, the Kem, who lay waste to the land and its armies with their demonic powers of fire and steel.

Imharak, a blacksmith’s apprentice, is forced to leave his home town when it is raided and burned to the ground. 

Together with his master, Gaius, he flees into the wilderness, heading for Gaius’ brother, who is caught near a city that has just been conquered by the Kem.

What troubles Imharak is not so much the invasion, but the fact that he shares the same powers as the invaders, leading him to question where he came from.

He never knew his parents – he was raised as a Liberite and destined to be a common blacksmith. His powers had always made him an outcast, and now he starts to think he might have more in common with the conquerors than with the conquered.

Soon, Imharak will find his allegiances torn between both sides. As he and Gaius journey closer to the lion’s den, Imharak will discover who he really is and what he is capable of.

A bloody, harrowing adventure that takes its cues from ancient civilisations and mythologies, The Fire and the Forge is like no fantasy you’ve ever read.

While a lot of epic fantasy is set in a world resembling medieval Europe, The Fire and the Forge is influenced by ancient Mediterranean civilisations like Egypt, Israel, Carthage and Rome. 

It owes more to the world of the Old Testament and Mt. Olympus than the world of knights, wizards and castles.

You’ll find no elves, dwarves or goblins here. No dark lords, dragon-slayers or prophecies. 

You’ll find no good or evil, but only a grey sense of morality as people are forced to make life-or-death decisions in a harsh and brutal world.

From the very first sentence, this intimate, character-driven tale will dig its hooks into you and haul you along to the bitter end.

The Fire and the Forge Cover

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Geurts delivers a compelling tale of the reluctant orphan who finds himself to be more than he could ever have imagined. Imharak’s place in the world is so much more than the sum of his bloodline. Finding himself in the midst of invasion, Imharak must discover which side of himself to align with. Will he be the conqueror or the conquered?

“The Fire And The Forge” is incredibly quotable. Geurts weaves life lessons like a true philosopher. Like Aesop, Geurts’ writing teach caution when caution is due and encourage a critical filter while disseminating information.

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Gaius, while not being blood related to Imharak, rears the boy with love and wisdom. Gaius’ past is never far from his thoughts and he uses the bloody lessons he’s learned to give Imharak a deeper understanding of life than most in their feudal land. The love between them adds a depth to this story that most tales like this lack. It puts a very human face on fiction and weaves a story that will, brick by brick, add pieces to the readers life. I’m better for reading this story.

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Unlike most fantasy, “The Fire And The Forge” has a setting that is closer to a Roman or Egyptian civilization and it’s a very nice reprieve from the ever present “dark ages” scene. The characters range in race and culture. It’s a story rich in diversity as well as adversity.

I especially enjoyed the different “magics” illustrated here. What a powerful imagination Geurts must have. There aren’t many stories that I recommend for film but this is absolutely one of them. If given the chance, I think it would rock the world on the scale of the “Game of Thrones” series. Yes, it really is that good.

I am completely caught in Geurts’ web and won’t be getting out anytime soon. I look forward to continuing the series.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Fire And The Forge | Series: Pantheon |  Author(s): Jack Geurts  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Sales LLC / Publication Date: 9-20-2017 |Pages: 448 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: B075T5D6YN |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-26-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

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Inkitt’s Writers Write Program

Inkitt launches a free program to help you turn your idea into a novel within 30 days

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? There are millions of people in the world who have ideas floating around in their heads that they want to write down but never find the time.

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Inkitt, the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, will be launching their first ‘Writers Write Program’  on November 1st to help you turn your idea into an original novel. The 30-day program is completely free and filled with special benefits such as:

  • Free, 30 min private sessions with professional writing coaches (including the editor of The Martian)
  • Events and tips with bestselling authors like Andy Weir, Lauren Kate, and Gayle Forman
  • A variety of community features such as the choice to get a writing buddy who you can exchange manuscript feedback with


“Our intention is to enlarge the writing community by encouraging more people to become writers,” said CEO of Inkitt, Ali Albazaz. “The program is completely free so for us this isn’t about making money; it’s about encouraging talented and committed writers to keep going and finish what they started.”

If you are serious about taking on the challenge or want to finish (or start!) a manuscript then make sure to get your spot in the program now. There is less than a week left before it starts.

LEARN MORE

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The Booklist – Historical Thrillers

      Historical Thrillers are one my favorite genre’s. It’s the best of both worlds. The characters were/are real people and reading about them brings history alive in a way that textbooks just can’t. The fiction bit allows the author some room for speculation. It’s fun to see each authors take on the same historical characters. I think this genre keeps the past in the present and encourages people to look back and learn. The Thriller bit digs into the reader, blows the dust off the past and rips a hole through time to keep the story fresh. It’s easy to forget the past when you don’t feel connected to it. Historical Thrillers allow it’s readers to connect with those long dead and breeds empathy for those who survived (or didn’t) some of the worst periods of our history. If we have no empathy for the horrors of the past are we bound to repeat them?

I hope you enjoy my selections! Never stop reading!

♥♥♥♥

The Pursuit of Pearls CoverIn the spring of 1939, the drums of war beat throughout Europe, but nowhere more ferociously than in Berlin. The film studio where Clara Vine works is churning out movies, but each day that she stays in Germany is more dangerous than the last. Spying on the private life of the Third Reich, passing secrets to contacts in British intelligence, falling into a passionate affair—any of these risky moves could get Clara shot. So she is wholly shaken when someone close to her is murdered instead. The victim is Lottie Franke, an aspiring costume designer and student at the prestigious Faith and Beauty finishing school that trains young women to become the wives of the Nazi elite. While the press considers Lottie’s death in the Grunewald forest the act of a lone madman, Clara uncovers deeper threads, tangled lines that seem to reach into the darkest depths of the Reich—and to a precious discovery that Hitler and his ruthless cohorts would kill for.

Freinds and Traitors CoverLondon, 1958. Chief Superintendent Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard, newly promoted after good service during Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to Britain, is not looking forward to a European trip with his older brother, Rod. Rod has decided to take his entire family on “the Grand Tour” for his fifty-first birthday: a whirlwind of restaurants, galleries, and concert halls from Paris to Florence to Vienna to Amsterdam. But Frederick Troy only gets as far as Vienna. It is there that he crosses paths with an old acquaintance, a man who always seems to be followed by trouble: British spy turned Soviet agent Guy Burgess. Suffice it to say that Troy is more than surprised when Burgess, who has escaped from the bosom of Moscow for a quick visit to Vienna, tells him something extraordinary: “I want to come home.” Troy knows this news will cause a ruckus in London―but even Troy doesn’t expect an MI5 man to be gunned down as a result, and Troy himself suspected of doing the deed. As he fights to prove his innocence, Troy is haunted by more than just Burgess’s past liaisons―there is a scandal that goes up to the highest ranks of Westminster, affecting spooks and politicians alike. And the stakes become all the higher for Troy when he reencounters a woman he first met in the Ritz hotel during a blackout―falling in love is a handicap when playing the game of spies.

The girl in the picture cover

Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855 – Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small costal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…

East Sussex Coast, 2016 – For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

Book list

The “Alt-Left”

It’s funny that the whole “Alt – Left” thing is even a thing. I mean, it’s like a Twilight Zone episode.

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Imagine, if you will, a group of people who care about others so much they don’t want people to starve or be homeless or tortured and imprisoned for who they love. Imagine a world where those carers dare to claim that all people should have healthcare regardless of if they have money!

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I mean, how are we at a place as a species where that’s demonized? How are we at a place where we think it’s totes fine to deport a child immediately after she’s had surgery even though she’s been here since she was a toddler? How are we at a place where we value each other so little that we dehumanize anyone who was born on another piece of the planet than you?

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Sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time or maybe in the wrong country. I don’t know which. Something is definitely amiss though. I’m so far left I don’t even think we should have borders. I literally don’t get why people are so territorial. I mean, it blows my mind that people deny other people the basic necessities of life if they don’t have money. Your life’s worth is directly connected to money. It blows my mind that anyone anywhere is absolutely alright with this. 

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I’m so far left I think that if we just have to use a monetary system (which I’m not really convinced is the right path) everyone should have a basic income. I also think that any education should be free and available to anyone. I honestly believe that people should work at what they have a passion and aptitude for and not just to make the most money. 

I really think that government policies should be solely based on evidence. 

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If you’re wondering what got me on this rant it was of course the comment section on Facebook. I guess I like to torture myself or something but I did a real stupid thing and I clicked on the comments on a post that a local Fox News station had about that little girl who is being deported after her surgery. One guy compared this sweet little girl to rats. It made me cry to read that. My husband just shook his head and told me I shouldn’t read those since I get so upset every time I do. 

I kinda feel like I have to read those comments sometimes though. It’s like I have to call these people out. I know it doesn’t really do any good but I do it anyway. At least I’ve done something.

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Book Spotlight “CrossRoads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda”

They are rooted in their culture’s rich traditions, yet they stand at the cutting edge of change. This is the crossroads where many Ugandan women find themselves today. With dignity and grace, they play a complex social role, balancing worldly sophistication with reverence for the values of their upbringing.

        In Crossroads, a group of these women explore the past that shaped them and the future they hope to build, telling varied stories about a rapidly changing society where they serve both as guardians of culture and harbingers of reform.

While one woman examines the cultural implications of Ugandan names, another describes being tortured in a secret prison, and a third traces the mix of African and imported religions that shaped her. One mocks girls’ traditional sex education, while another voices her love of sports and a third reflects on her struggle to overcome a legacy of growing up in a war zone. All challenge social expectations, yet many view “modernization” with ambivalence.

Crossroads Cover

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    Covering topics from sex roles to western ideas of “development,” this compelling picture of the lives of women in today’s Uganda, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, provides powerful testimony to the strength of the human spirit.

The Prey Of Men

Hi world, it’s me again. That crazy Mom who yells at old ladies in Target or Wal-Mart or fill in the blank store. Yep, it’s me. I’m the Mom who yells at weird guys whose eyes linger just a bit too long on my children or on me. Did I embarrass you when I called you out? Too mother fucking bad. Did I draw attention to your scumbag ass? GOOD. 

Stop looking at me like I’ve betrayed you when I loudly ask you why you’re following me in the store. Stop following me around in the store. I mean, you asked for it.

I rarely go anywhere with my children unless my husband is with me. Hell, I rarely go anywhere at all without my husband with me. Once, I thought his presence would deter the weirdos. He’s a big guy. I am a small woman. It’s a sad miserable world I live in where I have to fear for my life and my children’s when I leave my home. You’re probably thinking that I’m being paranoid….

Let me tell you a story.

A week ago my husband and I took the kids to Target in Tulsa. We weren’t in a “bad” part of Tulsa. We took the kids to pick out a toy as a potty training reward. While in the store a man in his 60’s starts following us. My 6ft 3 inch husband doesn’t notice at first. I notice. The kids want out of the basket to look at the toys. I agree and tell my husband to guard one side and I the other. Creepo comes into the aisle we are in. He picks up a few toys and puts them back down. His eyes dart from the shelf to my almost two year old daughter with her white blonde hair held back in a pink flowered barrette. I move in front of her and block his view. I stare at him. He stares at me. He smiles and tells me what a beautiful daughter I have. Tells me we’ll be beating the boys off with a stick. My husband notices the Creepo and picks up our daughter and son to put them back in the basket. The Creepo walks past me in the ailse and as he passes the basket his eyes linger on my daughter. I ask him to not stare at my child. He laughs and walks away. 

Later, as we make our way to the other side of the store to get dog food I keep seeing the man. He passes by us over and over again. This time he is on his phone. While my husband reaches down to put the dog food bag under the cart I see the man lift his phone to take a picture of my daughter and son. I block his shot with my body and loudly tell him not to take pictures of my kids. He hightails it out of there. I alert a Target Employee of what’s going on.

While we are checking out I see the man again. He is with an older woman around his age. They are standing at the front of the store. When we walk out his eyes are on my kids. I seethe in anger. My husband is furious. I see the employee I alerted talking to another employee. I point at the man and mouth wtf. Employee shrugs and looks away. We get to our car and leave. 

That night, my son tells me he didn’t like the weird man in Target. My 4 year old son tells me he won’t let the weird man take his sister. My 4 year old son tells me he’s glad Daddy was there and is so strong. My 4 year old son tells me he thinks the weird man could of beaten me up but not Daddy. My 4 year old son’s joy in his new toy in overshadowed by the fear some creepy man in Target put in him. I comfort my child. 

Later, I lock myself in my bathroom and cry. I caught my husband wiping his eyes as he watched our kids playing with their new toys.

That is one story of many that I have. My oldest child is only 4 and this has been happening for years. My daughter is not even 2 years old and she is the prey of men. 

Kidnapping facts

 

 

I’m Going To Talk About Inequality – Die Mad About It

I’ve spent the better part of my life being belittled for having the audacity to have actual feelings and….get this…showing them. I know, how dare I inconvenience the world with my empathy. How dare I think it’s ok to cry at a sad part in a book in public. I mean, what if someones kid sees me. I might ruin someones $5 coffee for god sakes. I MIGHT BREAK THROUGH THEIR EVERYTHING IS FINE FACADE IF I DARE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOMELESS PERSON ASKING FOR CHANGE OUTSIDE THE STARBUCKS. How could I be so insensitive?

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I know you’re all sick of hearing about inequality and how some people can’t afford food or a house to live. I mean, do we really have to talk about it so much? It’s only children going hungry. If they really wanted food they’d go get a damn job. They would work hard for what they want just like the rest of us…..wait…oh yeah, you went to a posh private school and had college paid for by your folks. So, other than that you earned…oh yeah, don’t forget that down payment your folks gave you for your first house. Oh, and the car they gave you and and and the phone bill they still foot or the insurance they still pay. Let us not forget the healthcare your folks have had covered since you were but a bright spot on an ultrasound. 

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Turns out you didn’t gain your rank in life off your own merit. Have the balls to admit it and the rest of us won’t have to keep shoving your face in it. MMMMkay.

Check out this link to see how your privilege gives you a head start in the race of life.

RACE OF LIFE

 

“The Fire And The Forge” Jack Geurts – Book Spotlight

Would you rather be the conquered or the conqueror?

        In a world where gods pull the strings of mortals and people wield the power of the elements, the nation of Libera is attacked by its age-old enemy, the Kem, who lay waste to the land and its armies with their demonic powers of fire and steel.

    Imharak, a blacksmith’s apprentice, is forced to leave his hometown when it is raided and burned to the ground. Together with his master, Gaius, he flees into the wilderness, heading for Gaius’ brother, who is caught near a city that has just been conquered by the Kem. What troubles Imharak is not so much the invasion, but the fact that he shares the same powers as the invaders, leading him to question where he came from.

He never knew his parents – he was raised as a Liberite and destined to be a common blacksmith. His powers had always made him an outcast, and now he starts to think he might have more in common with the conquerors than with the conquered.

Soon, Imharak will find his allegiances torn between both sides. As he and Gaius journey closer to the lion’s den, Imharak will discover who he really is and what he is capable of.

A bloody, harrowing adventure that takes its cues from ancient civilizations and mythologies, The Fire and The Forge is like no fantasy you’ve ever read.

While a lot of epic fantasy is set in a world resembling medieval Europe, The Fire and The Forge is influenced by ancient Mediterranean civilizations like Egypt, Israel, Carthage and Rome. It owes more to the world of the Old Testament and Mt. Olympus than the world of knights, wizards and castles. You’ll find no elves, dwarves or goblins here. No dark lords, dragon-slayers or prophecies. You’ll find no good or evil, but only a grey sense of morality as people are forced to make life-or-death decisions in a harsh and brutal world.

From the very first sentence, this intimate, character-driven tale will dig its hooks into you and haul you along to the bitter end.​

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“After joining Jacks email list, I purchased the paper back version of the Fire and the Forge, running at just over 400 pages, I found this novel impossible to put down,
 The BEST fiction book I’ve read all year, and I want to tell you why.
Page by page, Jack Geurts masterfully plays with your mind, pulling the strings of your imagination and drawing you into the world he has created, so you feel as if you are on the journey yourself with the lead characters.
The twists and turns throughout had me physically yelling out at times for I couldn’t contain my excitement.
For those who love fantasy fiction, do yourself a favour and read this book. I can imagine the sequels will be just as gripping as the original.
The original lays the perfect foundation for the sequels to take place. It answers the right amount of questions about the world laid out for you, while maintaining the mystery that will keep me coming back for more.” – Amazon Reviewer Christine

The Fire and the Forge Cover

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“Daring The Pilot” Jeannie Moon – Book Review

Keely Andersen hasn’t visited her hometown more than a handful of times in the last ten years, but when her doctoral research sends her back to Marietta for the immediate future, she can’t wait to reconnect with the community and the mountains she missed so much. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and Keely’s truck breaks down a few miles outside of town. When help arrives, she finds herself face to face with her brother’s best friend – the guy she used to call big, bad and gorgeous – Jonah Clark.

Still settling back into Marietta after a harrowing stint as an army helicopter pilot, Jonah Clark plans to spend a few days hiking the local mountains to prepare for his job as a pilot for Crawford County’s Search and Rescue team. When he stops to help a stranded driver, Jonah is shocked to find his best friend’s younger sister is the one behind the wheel. Only now, instead of the geeky teen he remembered, Keely is all grown up with curves he can’t resist.

Though the sparks of attraction ignite immediately, they’re hesitant to act because of their shared past. But when a project dear to their hearts is threatened, and a boy is lost on Copper Mountain, Keely and Jonah drop everything to fight for what matters, including each other.

Daring The Pilot Cover

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“Daring The Pilot” was a sweet read that kept my attention (mostly) until the last page. While it was a bit cliche at times and easy to guess the plot at others the characters warmed my heart and their bumbling made me smile.

I loved Keely’s character and found her endearing and charming while also a good example for women in science. She was whip smart but not cocky. I loved how connected she was with her community and her parents while also forging her independence. I did find that her childhood illness used as a motivator for parental control was a bit odd since Keely had been traveling the world for many years before she made her way back home. You would think that her parents would see her dating a man she’s known her whole life as a safer route than world travel. It didn’t make a lot of sense that they would disapprove of that after so many years of Keely proving she can handle herself. This weird part of the story was off-putting and I found myself pulled out of the story.

Jonah is a mans man for sure. He’s done his fair share of traveling but unlike Keely his venue was a lot more dangerous. I liked him but didn’t love him. I feel like his character needs a lot more work to bring the reader more to his side. After finishing the book I felt like I should of known him better than I did.

A big part of what I don’t like about the story is Keely’s virginity against Jonah’s experience. I don’t like that Keely is presented on one side as this very worldly woman and on the other side is presented as this naive woman sexually. This was another part of the story that felt very unauthentic and I was once again jolted from the story.

I think Moon should take a step back and take a good long look at how she is presenting women.

3 stars.

3 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Daring The Pilot | Series: Men Of Marietta |  Author(s): Jeannie Moon  |Publisher: Tule Publishing / Publication Date: 4-4-2017 |Pages: 283 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: B01N2AQ7JH |Genre(s): Romance |Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-25-2017 |Source: Copy from winning a giveaway on Twitter.

 

Daring The Pilot CoverThis story is about two adults falling in love. Keely is 28 years old, preparing for her doctorate. Jonah the age of her older brother, a Captain, out of the military after numerous years, the last of which left 6of the men in his unit dead. Jonah had found Keely 10 years before in a storm that had nearly cost her her life. They are definitely not strangers to each other & definitely not children!.

A great storyline, interesting side stories, of not only the people, but the history of the Town of Marietta as well. Small town discussion (gossip) of people’s lives is prevalent. And Moms act about their adult kid’s lives the same as if they were indeed much younger. Fun stuff to read!

You will enjoy this one dear reader. Read & enjoy. – Amazon Reviewer

 

 

“Teach Us All” – You Should Watch It.

I’m pretty sure that most of us in the US have heard at least something about the segregation issues we have with our public school systems. I remember my step-father telling me about it when I was a kid. My mother in law was in school in Pine Bluff, Arkansas when they desegregated. She told me of the outright violence those poor kids suffered. She told me of her silence and of the silence of her friends. I remember feeling pretty damn superior to her at that moment because I just knew in my heart of hearts that I would not of been silent. Oh to be young, stupid and naive. I would love to think that I would of stood up for those kids. I would love to think that today things are different and my generation is getting it right. Truth is, while I would now stand up and support their right to an equal education….I don’t know if that would be true of myself as a child. I’m almost thirty years old and while I believe that millennials are doing better….we haven’t got it fixed. Our public school systems are as broke as ever and I applaud shows like this for bringing attention to an issue that desperately needs repaired. Our kids really are the future and we need to be innovative in our education efforts. “Teach Us All” goes deep into education inequality and should be a required watch for politicians and parents alike. I encourage you to watch it and raise your voice for change.