Indie Author Spotlight – Jack Geurts “The Fire And The Forge”

I am extremely pleased to share this interview with you. I recently reviewed Jack’s novel, “The Fire And The Forge” and was completely blown away by how great it was. It has a permanent spot on my favorite books list. Jack’s insight and story telling will leave you mesmerized. I truly believe that Jack is a born story-teller and I can’t wait to devour every word he writes. I hope you enjoy the interview and grab a copy of the book for yourself. 

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Jack Geurts Author Pic

Jack Geurts is the author of The Fire and the Forge, first in an epic fantasy series about cruel gods pulling the strings of mortals and people wielding elemental magic. He lives on coffee and podcasts, and only leaves the house to walk his dog, Ruben. Currently, he’s hard at work on his next book. Keep up with all his latest books at JackGeurts.com

The Interview

Q: “The Fire And The Forge” is an amazing story. What are your hopes for the book?

Honestly, my hopes are just that it will reach as many readers as possible and that they’ll enjoy it as much as you have. There’s a lot of authors out there and a lot of other books people could be reading.

Q: In the world of “The Fire And The Forge”, a Blacksmith must earn his ‘iron’ before going out on his own. Can you explain this custom?

‘Earning one’s iron’ is a phrase I used in the book, but the concept dates back to the guilds of medieval Europe. Upon completing his apprenticeship, a young man would embark on what were known as his ‘journeyman’ years, where he would travel from place to place, earning day wages and gaining experience. Later, he would become a master craftsman himself and take on his own apprentice. This is more or less the plan for Imharak’s life until Alba is attacked.

Q: This world is comparable in some ways to the “Old Testament” and different Mythologies. What inspired you to bring this world to life?

I suppose I was tired of the medieval European setting that had become standard for epic fantasy. I wanted to see something different, and was always much more fascinated by ancient history than the Middle Ages.

So I created a world that borrowed from ancient Egypt, Israel, Carthage and Rome, rather than England or Scandinavia. I drew mainly from the Old Testament in terms of the Liberites themselves and their exodus from Kemet, but there’s also a lot of Homer’s Iliad in there, too. You’ll notice distinct similarities between the old pantheon of gods who are not really worshipped anymore with the Greek gods of Mt. Olympus. We’ll see more of that ancient Greek influence in Book #2.

Q: Authors often mention that their stories are either already in their head or the writer is a kind of vessel that the story flows from. How did this story come about for you?

Funnily enough, it started as a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi dystopia. It was all about a society that evolves in the wake of a nuclear holocaust – each tribe had a different elemental power based on the environment in which they lived (desert, sea etc.). But that concept was really all that stayed.

I guess the story, for me, felt like a natural culmination of all the things I loved most – ancient history, the setting of the Old Testament, movies like Gladiator and Braveheart and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I didn’t want to write historical fiction exactly, but fantasy allowed me to explore history with the freedom to change details to fit the story I wanted to tell. I’m sure I’ll get some people who are upset that I don’t have complex magic systems or other things that are common to the genre, but that wasn’t really what drew me to fantasy in the first place. Hopefully, that means I’ll be able to bring something new to the table.

First and foremost, I focus on the characters. I’m not really interested in doing multiple plot-lines – I find it hard to latch on to someone I really care about, and if I do, I find myself wishing I could just see the entire story from their point of view. That’s why I chose to keep The Fire and the Forge focused mainly on a small group of characters in a single narrative arc – follow them on their journey from one place to another, the conversations they have over campfires and the dangers they face together, the revelations they come to.

Q: Infernos seems less autocratic in personality than Caelos, do you think the society of Libera is reflected in the god they praise?

I think part of that might be because we don’t really see Infernos in this book. For that matter, we don’t really see the Kem or get a good insight into their way of thinking. All we really have to go on is Imharak’s interpretation of them.

However, I certainly think that Infernos could be less autocratic. He was banished to the underworld by Caelos, and is something of an underdog in this story. His patronage of the Kem could be seen – especially from their point of view – as ‘teaming up’ to take down the cruel tyrant that is Caelos. They certainly don’t think they’re the bad guys in the story.

With regards to Libera being reflected in the god they praise, I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head. Caelos is unyielding, jealous and has the capacity for terrible violence. The Liberites (or at least the ones we see in The Fire and the Forge) are very similar in the way they treat other peoples who may have different beliefs, and indeed, their own people who stray from the path.

Q: The Kem seem much different than the God Infernos who they seem to be tied to. What is the main driver for this divide?

For the Kem, the adoption of Infernos as their one and only god is a very recent thing, more recent than the Liberites adopting Caelos as their sole deity. They are, in many ways, still transitioning from a polytheistic state, and this is reflected in the blending of Infernos with their former chief deity, the sun god, Bast – a process known as syncretism.

There’s another reason for the Liberites potentially being more devout followers of Caelos than the Kem are of Infernos, but that will be explored in a later book…

Q: Imharak is torn between many allegiances. This sets him apart from society from the onset of the book. The intention was as punishment but could it also be the reasoned as an asset?

That’s a very interesting way to look at it. I, personally, believe that it is an asset. It allows Imharak to be critical and self-aware in a way very few others around him are. Being skeptical of his surroundings, of people and their gods, gives him an advantage over others who might be blinded by their faith and the way they think the world works. Because of this well-honed doubt – for lack of a better word – he is able to see the truth of things, even when the truth is unthinkable.

 Q: “The Fire And The Forge” is the first book in what is an ongoing series. Is there a planned amount of books?

There are four books planned at the time I’m writing this. I’m almost finished editing Book #2, which is called To Kill a King. It is due for release January 12th (it’s actually up for preorder now). Book #3 is called Queen of the Dead Lands and that will be out sometime around April/May.

The third instalment has been fully outlined, and while I’ve got a very definite idea about what Book #4 will be, I haven’t plotted it out yet. All I can say is that it will bring this particular series to an end, but there are other planned series in the universe, each drawing influence from certain, less-explored periods of history (think the rise of Islam in late antiquity, or the transition from hunter-gatherer tribes to cities in Central and South America).

 Q: Who in the story do you feel the deepest connection to?

Probably Gaius. I find him to be the most sympathetic and empathetic character in the book, a man who has done terrible things and who is trying desperately to forget, or redeem himself if he can. I know this probably isn’t how a lot of other writers do it, but when I envision a character, I’ll usually think of the actor I imagine playing them in the movie. It might be a hold-over from when I was studying screenplays before I turned to writing novels, but I always imagined Andre Braugher in the role. He has this careful deliberation and gravitas about him, a quiet power. Very eloquent, enunciating every syllable.

Q: If you could have any two powers, what would you choose and why?

Flight, without even thinking. I’ve always been very jealous of birds. Second to that would probably be some kind of regenerative ability – I’ve had a bad back for a few years now, which is kind of messing with my hips and knees, too. It’d be nice to get rid of that.

Q: If you were to identify with one of the many societies in your story, with whom would you belong?

Wow. The ancient world was such a brutal place, even just in daily life. I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be the Elladenes. We get a glimpse into their culture at the end when Longinus is playing his lyre and singing in the Elladene language. If the Liberites are influenced by the people of biblical-era Israel in the Old Testament, then the Elladenes more closely match the ancient Greeks. In the world of The Fire and the Forge, they’re perhaps the most progressive, advanced and tolerant society around. But more on them in Book #2…

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“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard #BookReview

Good vs. Evil

      Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media. Insidious forces are everywhere, lurking, unseen. Nothing is what it appears to be. Earth is headed for dark times. Then a powerful and enigmatic stranger arrives from the stars. He will either save the human race or accelerate a series of events that will lead Earth inexorably to its destruction.

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In “Starry Messenger”, our world among many others is but a puppet on the strings of the ‘Collective’, the Degans and the God of all God’s, Yar. Quentin awakens and is directed by the Synod to observe Earth’s status. Why haven’t the humans conquered the stars? For centuries humans have been given a leg up and it seems to all be for naught. Quentin’s meetings with others like him leave him reeling in his convictions. What exactly is the end game for the Synod and is the way of Yar all Quentin had believed it to be? Will the chance meeting of a human woman and her son change everything for Quentin?  

  A few things I want to bring attention to first. Thank you Mr. Howard for such a compelling list of characters. Thank you a ton for having a male lead who is a POC and a grown adult. Too many of these stories are based around teens and do not reflect the diversity of humanity. 

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Quentin is still a bit of a mystery to me. He’s thousands of years old and a very intriguing man. He is introspective and open minded even when all he knows is being questioned. His character is stoic and endearing. It was a treat to watch as he discovered his human forms feelings and desires. How conflicting that must have been.

Regina and her son are an integral part of what made this story so good. I would like to see both of them fleshed out a bit more. The same can be said for Quentin. I’m hoping that in later books they come to understand the world together and our journey with them delves a bit deeper than this book seemed to. 

There was a lot of world building in “Starry Messenger” but I didn’t feel like it was too much at once. I would of liked the book to be a bit longer, as it stands it’s a good toe into this new world and it’s mechanisms. 

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My only criticism is the withdrawn feel to both Regina and Quentin. I would like to see them fleshed out a bit more intimately since this is an introduction to the series. The language is a bit formal and could use to be loosened up a bit.

4 stars!

 4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Starry Messenger | Series: Opportvnvs Adest  |  Author(s): Ethan Howard  |Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing / Publication Date: 3-15-2017 |Pages: 144 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: 978-1544661582 |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales / Science Fiction / Action |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-30-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard – Book Spotlight

Good vs. evil.

Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media.

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Insidious forces are everywhere, lurking, unseen. Nothing is what it appears to be. Earth is headed for dark times. Then a powerful and enigmatic stranger arrives from the stars. He will either save the human race or accelerate a series of events that will lead Earth inexorably to its destruction.

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“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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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.

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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 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

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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

 

 

#BookSpotlight “When Wolf Comes” John Pappas

Historical adventure, 1801. A survivor from an attack on a trade ship is sold as a slave to the Makah tribe of the Northwest Washington Coast. In a beautiful hostile land of people with strange spiritual ways he will become teacher and student, find friendship and even love, and realize escape comes in many guises, and survival is not always as simple as saving your own life.

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“I started reading the story and I literally couldnt put it down. Finished in one read! I loved the detail put into every day journaled in the book. I especially liked the ship board section and dangerous trading. I also liked how a romance starts and kinda slow simmered and built throughout the book. Wow, like I said if you like to read a great story with the details described making you feel like you are really there, this is the book for you. Great story!” – Amazon Reviewer

“When Wolf Comes” is well researched. Time and again I found myself lost in time and imagining the beauty of the northwest. The wonder of it’s people and their means of survival. I haven’t read much into this time period or the tribes that inhabited the northwest but Pappas leads the reader expertly through the complexities of both it’s cultural and natural wonders. Pappas has a real talent for cultivating a love in his readers that has at the very least encouraged me to learn more. I imagine that sentiment will spread through each new reader.” – AlliesOpinions Review

Get your copy today!

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Are you a reviewer looking for your next amazing read? “When Wolf Comes” is free on Kindle Unlimited. Don’t have a subscription? No problem! Shoot us an email and we’ll get you set up with the author for a possible review copy. Send review inquires to asumner28@hotmail.com !

 

Book Review “Seduced By Moonlight” Laurell K. Hamilton

I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie. 
Now there are those among me who whisper I am more. 
They fear me even as they protect me. And who can blame them? 
I’ve awakened the dazzling magic that’s slumbered in them for 
thousands of years. But the thing is, I can’t figure out why.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, is no longer distracted by her usual sadistic hobbies. Her obsession has turned unwaveringly to me. The mission to get me pregnant and beat my cousin Prince Cel to the crown is taking longer than expected. Even though I spend each night with the Queen’s Ravens, my immortal guards, no child has come of our decadent pleasures. But something else ishappening. My magic courses through me uncontrollably. And as I lock my half-mortal body with their full-Sidhe blooded ones, the power surges like never before.

It all began with the chalice. I dreamed of it, and it appeared, cool and hard, beside me when I awoke. My guards know the ancient relic well—its disappearance ages ago stripped them of their vital powers. But it is here with us now. My touch resonates with its force, and they’re consumed with it, their Sidhe essences lit up by it. But even as they cherish me for this unexpected gift, there are those who loathe me for it. Me, a mongrel, only half fey and part mortal. The Unseelie court has suffered for so long, and there are some who would not have it weakened further by an impure queen. My enemies grow in number every day. But they do not know what I am capable of. Nor, for that matter, do I.

seduced by moonlight cover

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       Since this genre is far away from what I usually review, I’ll give you a heads up before I begin. The Merry Gentry series has way more graphic sex scenes than I can typically stomach. It’s not something I actively seek in a book and is usually something I actively avoid. Normally, my reasoning for this is that I’ve found the authors rely way too heavily on the sex to carry the story instead of it being part of the story. I’m not out here trying to read about graphic sex and not get one hell of a story with it. I guess you could say that Hamilton is one of my guilty pleasure authors. She’s the exception to my no erotica rule and it’s solely based on the fact that the characters and the worlds she creates are unlike any other in their uniqueness and creativity. She’s a master at what she writes and every single book I’ve read from her captures my imagination completely and holds me long after I’ve read the last page and closed the book. She’s one of the few authors whose books invade even my dreams.

In “Seduced By Moonlight” we follow Merry as she continues her quest to get pregnant and gain the crown of the Unseelie Sidhe over her horrible cousin Cel. Her guards grow ever closer to her heart as her enemies gather in number against her. Hamilton spends a considerable amount of the book recapping previous events but since this is pretty typical of her books it’s both a nice reminder and a bit annoying. 

Sage was a character that caught my attention. Imagine being able to change size! To be small and easily overlooked or mistaken as a moth or butterfly to being a full grown man. I always seem to find shapeshifters or I guess in this case size-shifters very interesting. The mechanics of such a transformation would be miraculous. If only fantasy were fact. I felt for Sage though. To be denied the one whom you care for most….it’s sad.

I like that Danu has chosen Merry as her “vessel”. Merry is similar to Anita Blake (another series by Hamilton) in her ruthlessness and kindness. For those familiar with both series, the similarities are apparent. While the characters lives are very different, the personalities are similar enough to throw you off now and then. It’s not really that big of a deal but a few of the phrases or comparisons are present in both books and you may need to give yourself a head shake now and then.

A good number of the main group of characters gain old powers lost or new powers never owned by them. Sholto is added to the list of of those Merry must bed and I’m looking forward to learning more about that most mysterious dark court he governs. The Slaugh parts of the story are some of my favorites as Hamilton lets her powers of imagination loose. The creatures she creates are varied in their complexities as well as appearance. I hope to see a lot more of that dark court in further novels.

There is a very disturbing scene with the Queen of Air and Darkness and her guards. The scene is extremely well written and I think a major turning point for Merry. It’s a key time when Merry chooses who she wants to be and what she is willing to allow or fight for. 

As always, I found myself lost in this world and wishing for more. Due to the repetition and tedious dialog, I’m granting 4 stars instead of 5. It’s annoying enough that even though I loved the story, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

4 star

The Technical Data:

Title: Seduced By Moonlight | Series: Merry Gentry Series |  Author(s): Laurell K. Hamilton  |Publisher: Ballantine Books / Publication Date: 2-3-2004 |Pages: 432 (Print) | ISBN: B000FC0ZDU |Genre(s): Fantasy / Dark Fantasy / Romance / Horror  |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-10-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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seduced by moonlight coverConsidering all the complications, sexual and otherwise, that Merry Gentry, heir to the faerie throne, endured in A Kiss of Shadows (2000) and A Caress of Shadows (2002), it’s no surprise to find the start of Hamilton’s third book in her erotic fantasy series weighed down by attempts to conversationally recap earlier convolutions. Even readers of the first two books might have problems sorting out exactly why Merry is messing with the goblin king via magic mirror. Though the author maintains interest through such devices as an imaginative sex scene involving Merry, two of her sidhe studs and a doll-sized, winged, blood-sucking demi-fey, it takes a milieu switch from L.A. to St. Louis and the Unseelie court for the plot to take off and become a page turner. Merry confronts faerie politics that make Machiavelli look like a rookie, while her aunt’s sadistic madness leads to what must rank as one of the bloodier scenes of fictional slaughter. – Publishers Weekly

 

 

 

 

“When Wolf Comes” John Pappas

Historical adventure, 1801. A survivor from an attack on a trade ship is sold as a slave to the Makah tribe of the Northwest Washington Coast. In a beautiful hostile land of people with strange spiritual ways he will become teacher and student, find friendship and even love, and realize escape comes in many guises, and survival is not always as simple as saving your own life.

When Wolf Comes Cover

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“When Wolf Comes” begins with Aiden doing what he does in much of the book….deliberating on his next move. Aiden has found himself far from home and does his best to be positive while also endeavoring to be useful. When the first ship comes Aiden’s spirits lift and life takes a new path. Like life can do, the path quickly shifts again and Aiden finds himself once more a slave. This time though, maybe being a slave is a step forward.

As Aiden finds his purpose within his masters tribe and culture his eye finds itself stuck on another slave. Neveah is a beautiful native woman who also turns out to be more than what she appears. Their relationship blooms slowly and it’s a real treat to see. 

Something that should be noted is how Pappas managed to embed a message of tolerance in his story. Aiden and the Makah are very different and those differences are stark at the beginning but as the story deepens those differences don’t seem so far apart and each culture melds together to find this new direction that I found fascinating. Aiden’s culture and knowledge was accepted (albeit with suspicion) and their culture became another piece of Aiden. This story has a message of oneness that resonates even now.

“When Wolf Comes” is well researched. Time and again I found myself lost in time and imagining the beauty of the northwest. The wonder of it’s people and their means of survival. I haven’t read much into this time period or the tribes that inhabited the northwest but Pappas leads the reader expertly through the complexities of both it’s cultural and natural wonders. Pappas has a real talent for cultivating a love in his readers that has at the very least encouraged me to learn more. I imagine that sentiment will spread through each new reader.

Squintanasis was a character that I really couldn’t get enough of. I would love to see him get his own book. I felt like there was more to tell and learn from this most stoic of men. He was mysterious and wise. He was shrewd but fair. I liked him immensely. He was a big part of what made this story bury itself so deep into my psych. 

Pappas depiction of battle is gory but not overly so. The horror is addressed but not dwelt upon. The significance is put more on how the community came together and their bond. I thought it was well written and well balanced.

I could go on for days about how much I enjoyed this story. I encourage you to hop in and lose yourself in the magic of the early 1800’s.

Absolute 5 star book.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: When Wolf Comes | Series: N/A |  Author(s): John Pappas  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services / Publication Date: 5-8-2016 |Pages: 264 (Print) | ISBN: B01FEC6YM6 |Genre(s): Historical Fiction  |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-29-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

When Wolf Comes Cover

“The images conjured up by the Northwest Coast tribes is one of fierce people what with their dramatic masks, nose bones and complex ceremonies. This story takes you to the people beneath that image. It highlights their sense of community as well as their recognition of the changes being brought by traders. It tells of how they treat their “slaves”, their capacity for compassion and their lack of tolerance for wrongdoing.” – Amazon Reviewer