Book Review: Of Myth and Shadow by Matthew S. Cox

Book Blurb:

 

Aegaan is a vast and righteous kingdom, yet darkness gathers in the distant corners of the realm. Elven raids on small towns have inflamed racial tensions with humans, pushing distrust to hatred and the brink of war.

Anrael wanders the woods alone until a chance meeting tempts him to set aside his contempt for those who scorn his half-elven blood.

When Kylie, a naive elf terrified of humans, is thrust among them against her will, she begins to question her mother’s tales of dread.

Having lost everything dear to him, the bandit king Jhelan lives only to seek challenge in battle… until he finds himself willing to die protecting that which he hates the most.

The diabolical mystique of the dark elves cloaks L’an Thal’Sara in protection, but the cruelest lie she tells is to herself.

Thaelwyn, a virtuous knight, sets out to discover the source of the Elves’ aggression, but faces a much greater test within his mind.

Beneath the chaos, minions of the Destroyer search for their promised leader, a child possessing power beyond their years. If the innocent falls to darkness, a kingdom rife with hatred will surely crumble.

Purchase links: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WNYMDCQ  https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Shadow-Cox-S-Matthew/dp/1950738116/

My Thoughts

With a back catalogue running to several pages, a significant fan-base and a solid record of both of standalone novels and series, spanning children’s, young adults’ and adults’ fantasy fiction, Matthew S. Cox hardly needed to make a big statement to persuade the world that he is a major player in this field. But Of Myth and Shadow makes a big statement anyway.
It is his most ambitious project yet. It is a work of enormous depth and breadth that offers a tour de force of the genre. The familiar components are all there – the virtuous kingdom under threat from evil forces; knights, dragons, magic; humans and elves and the tensions between them; the liminal characters who straddle the different worlds and enable them to come together to oppose the powers of darkness; the journey, the quest, the innocent who holds the key. What Matthew Cox adds to this recipe is his perfectly honed skills in building worlds and populating them with intriguing, compelling characters – skills in which he is a consummate craftsman. He weaves this story through the intertwining tales of half a dozen key characters, each with their own plotline, their own journey, and through them we learn the many faces of the kingdom of Aegaan, its politics, its magic and its troubles.
Whether he is introducing an elf or a human or a bandit or a knight he gifts the character with a solidity and a realism that would engage and persuade the most skeptical reader. In other books he has already demonstrated his ability to write convincing young girls, simultaneously vulnerable and powerful, innocent and knowing, and he achieves this again in nine-year-old orphan Serelin.
This isn’t a book for newcomers – weighing in at three or four times the length of his more conventional novels, the sheer size of this work will probably deter anyone who isn’t already sure of the genre or the author. But for fans of this genre , or of Matthew Cox as a writer, this book will doubtless become something of a classic.

About the Author

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, the Prophet of the Badlands series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, developer of two custom tabletop RPG systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of humanity, reality, life, and what might happen after it.

He is also fond of cats, presently living with two: Loki and Dorian.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @Mscox_Fiction / https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mscox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/matthewcox10420/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mscox.author/

Author Website:  http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/about/

Book Review: Murder in Montague Falls

About Murder in Montague Falls

 

WHITE HOT THRILLS! PITCH BLACK DEEDS!

3 TALES OF TEENS TACKLING THEIR DARKEST RITES OF PASSAGE

Acclaimed storytellers Russ Colchamiro, Sawney Hatton, and Patrick Thomas each present an original novella brimming with enough danger, intrigue, and murder to get readers’ blood pounding and hearts racing.

In Colchamiro’s RED INK, a paperboy with an overactive imagination witnesses a brutal killing on his route—or has he taken his fantasy spy games a step too far?

In Hatton’s THE DEVIL’S DELINQUENTS, a trio of teenage misfits in pursuit of success, power, and revenge practice amateurish occult rituals… with deadly consequences.

In Thomas’s A MANY SPLENDID THING, a sultry high school teacher enrolls one of her students to get rid of her husband. But will the young man really graduate to murder?

My Thoughts

These three slick, dark, well-written novellas, by three different authors, are a nice antidote to any sentimental recollection one might have about the joys of being a teenager.

The first is a story about a troubled boy engrossed in an improbable fantasy world that becomes tangled in the mirror of an equally improbable real world. The second tells a chilling tale of three youngsters throwing themselves into Satanism.  The third draws its violent action from a desperately misplaced and dangerous affair between a teacher and a pupil.

All are based in the same town, which neatly ties the three novellas into a single volume, although the action of the three stories is unrelated, occurs in different time periods, and the town itself doesn’t feature in any significant way as a unifying “character” across the three stories. I’d have liked it if it had done – I felt that closer collaboration in this project by the three authors could have allowed more capital to be drawn from the one-town-three-stories device.

This is a side-grumble however, because actually the stories hang well together and do have a coherence that makes the reading experience an intense and unified one.  What ties them together is the deeper preoccupation about adolescence that broods through all of them.  Adolescence isn’t generally a fun time, fraught as it generally is with unmanageable yearnings, anxiety and disfiguring pimples.  These stories capture well that adolescent universe in which the possibilities of the adult world suddenly gape open, alluring, contemptible and terrifying in equal measure; in which friends are all important and one’s whole identity pivots on precarious social networks whose group imperatives can overwhelm. To shine these tensions through the prism of ‘noir’ or ‘horror” is appropriate – both are genres that tap into the residual adolescent in all of us – and the outcome is a memorable splash of darkness.”

 

ABOUT THE THREE AUTHORS

Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking time travel/space adventure, Crossline, the SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, editor of the SF mystery anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, and co-author of the noir anthology Murder in Montague Falls, all with Crazy 8 Press.

He is now finalizing Crackle and Fire, the first in a new scifi mystery series featuring his intergalactic private eye, Angela Hardwicke, set for publication September 2020.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, and crazy dog Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, Badass Moms, and Brave New Girls.

Russ is repped by The Zack Compnay.

For more on and Russ’s books, you can visit www.russcolchamiro.com, follow him on Twitter @AuthorDudeRuss, and ‘like’ his Facebook author page www.facebook.com/RussColchamiroAuthor.

 

Sawney Hatton

 

Sawney Hatton is an author, editor, and screenwriter. Other incarnations of Sawney have produced marketing videos, attended all-night film festivals, and played the banjo and sousaphone (not at the same time). He loves a good day trip into the unknown.

To learn more about Sawney, visit his website at SawneyHatton.com

 

Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas writes the beloved fantasy humor series Murphy’s Lore, and  wrote the graphic novel Case of the Moon Maniac and the steampunk themed As The Gears Turn. His short stories have been featured in over fifty anthologies and more than three dozen print magazines.
A number of his books were part of the props department of the CSI television show and one was even thrown at a suspect. Fairy With A Gun was optioned by Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Act of Contrition, a story featuring his Soul For Hire hitman is in development for a short film by Top Men Productions.

Drop by www.patthomas.net to learn more.

 

A warm thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book!

Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy – Cover Reveal and Preorder!

Yesterday, Shooting Star Press acquired my biography of Alice Bailey. Today, I am revealing the new cover!

About Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy

From tragic beginnings as an aristocratic orphan to becoming the mother of the New Age spiritual movement, Alice A. Bailey is one of the modern era’s most misunderstood occult figures.

Bailey’s journey is a story of faith, from orthodox Christian beginnings, through a protracted spiritual crisis, to a newfound belief in Theosophy. A mystic and a seeker, a founder of global spiritual organizations, and a surmounter of adversity, Bailey’s past is rife with injustices, myths, and misconceptions – including that she was an anti-Semite and a racist with a dark agenda.

With scandals and controversies laid bare, Bailey’s extraordinary life is revealed as a powerful, remarkable legacy.

Shooting Star Press Preorder Landing Page

And again, wasting no time getting the re-release of this major work back on the bookshelves, my dynamic new publisher have set up a preorder facility for the paperback on their website! (It’s worth mentioning the price of $29.95 is in Australian dollars and translates to $16USD. Postage within Australia is capped at $9.50 and  international shipping capped at $15.50 or $8.00USD). 

Shooting Star Press are also organising author signed copies using the same BUY process. Just make sure to leave a comment in the order notes as you go through the checkout process. A quantity of copies will be forwarded to me for this purpose.

https://www.shootingstar.pub/product/alice-a-bailey-life-and-legacy-pre-order/

Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy will be published on 5 August 2020 in paperback and e-book editions, with an audiobook in the pipeline for early 2021. Translations into Portuguese, French, Spanish, German and Italian are on the agenda.

…helping restore Alice Bailey to her rightful place in history as a remarkable woman who left an equally remarkable legacy. She’s the mother of the New Age movement and much more besides.

Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy acquired by Shooting Star Press

I am thrilled to announce my full biography of Alice A. Bailey has just been acquired by Shooting Star Press! 

This comes after many weeks of turbulence as the original edition released on 7 May 2020 was withdrawn from sale. The matter that caused the withdrawal has been resolved. I had thought of self-publishing but then endured a tiresome few weeks waiting for the manuscript to be properly formatted. Sometimes, such difficulties and delays have a fated feel and when Cath Brinkley of Shooting Star Press took a keen interest in my book, I felt a corner had been turned.

I couldn’t be happier. Shooting Star Press are a Canberra-based publisher who will make sure Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy finds its way into the hands of readers worldwide.

The new cover will be revealed next week and preorders available soon. Join my mailing list to stay in touch or my Facebook group dedicated to this remarkable woman and mother of the New Age movement.

Book Review: Slow Down by Lee Matthew Goldberg

How far would you go to make your dreams come true? For budding writer and filmmaker Noah Spaeth, being a Production Assistant in director Dominick Bambach’s new avant-garde film isn’t enough. Neither is watching Dominick have an affair with the lead actress, the gorgeous but troubled Nevie Wyeth. For Noah’s dream is to get both the film and Nevie in the end, whatever the cost. And this obsession may soon become a reality once Dominick’s spurned wife Isadora reveals her femme fatale nature with a seductive plot to get rid of her husband for good. Slow Down, a cross between the noir styling of James M. Cain and the dark satire of Bret Easton Ellis, is a thrilling page-turner that holds a mirror up to a media-saturated society that is constantly searching for the fastest way to get ahead, regardless of consequences.

My Thoughts

Slow Down is a fast-paced thriller written as though memoir from the perspective of protagonist and wannabe writer and film director Noah Spaeth. He’s about twenty-six looking back on events of four years prior and how he came to create his debut film Slow Down. Set in Manhattan, Slow Down depicts a privileged, entitled, pretentious and extremely decadent social milieu, mostly centred in the film industry. Debauchery and drug-taking abound in this behind-the-scenes exposé that focusses on the lengths a director will take to capture a great scene, produce a great movie.

Noah opens his tale by explaining how he came to meet the obnoxious Adonis Dominick Bambach, the original creator and director of the movie Slow Down, a movie then in genesis. Dominick is also a manufacturer of the designer drug Fast. This drug, akin to methylamphetamine, soon takes up stage centre when Noah becomes Dominick’s assistant. As he is drawn into his mentor’s world, he finds himself appalled, frustrated and challenged. He comes to loathe Dominick as much as fear him. And then he decides he is capable of creating a much better movie. Arrogant, cruel, out-of-control and almost deranged, Dominick tests Noah’s loyalty and as he does, Noah becomes more and more disillusioned. From there, the narrative descends into increasingly extreme and bizarre acts. The pace quickens in the second half of the novel, the final twist unexpected and arresting, one of those moments that make you want to start back at the beginning to figure out who was justified in doing what.

The architecture of this story is impressive. There is nothing to fault in the plotting and pacing. Written in punchy, upbeat and acerbic prose, Goldberg nails the voice of a washed-up, drugged-up young film director, a style that is self-mocking, self-contemptuous and self-justifying by turns. Stories like Slow Down are not easy to construct; Goldberg is to be commended and displays himself as a formidable literary talent.

Slow Down is ultimately a disturbing morality tale and a meditation on truth, deception and corruption.

About Lee Matthew Goldberg

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.

Website – Leematthewgoldberg.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/leemgol

IG – https://www.instagram.com/leematthewgoldberg/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeeMatthewG

Book Review: The Girl Who Found the Sun by Matthew S. Cox

About The Girl Who Found the Sun

It started with the insects.

The mass die-offs had been a warning unheeded. Before society realized the danger, the Earth had inexorably begun a transformation into a place where life could not survive. A small group found shelter in the Arc, an underground refuge safe from the toxins ravaging the surface.

After centuries of darkness, humanity’s second chance is running out—and Raven Wilder knows it.

Her job fixing the machinery in the Arc makes her aware of how close everything is to breaking down. When the systems fail, the last survivors of the human race will suffocate in the tunnels meant to protect them from the deadly air outside—starting with the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, in an example of history repeating itself, those in charge dismiss her concerns.

When her six-year-old begins showing signs of oxygen deprivation, Raven refuses to go quietly into oblivion.

She will break every rule to keep her daughter alive.

My Thoughts

This post-apocalyptic sci-fi offering opens in the bowels of the Arc, a failing underground community where electrical engineer Raven Wilder attempts to repair yet more decrepit wiring. It’s an essential role and it’s never ending. The Arc needs electricity to power the air scrubbers. There’s a hydroponic farm processing CO2 to help maintain oxygen levels. Everyone is told no one can go up and outside; conditions are much too toxic with flesh-eating vapours. It’s a bleak setting, yet Raven’s father told her stories of his trips outside, stories of what he saw and found. Raven is curious to know if what he said is true. Meanwhile, numbers are down in the human population who are struggling to survive and procreate. With only 183 remaining, there are concerns over inbreeding. Everyone wears rags as no one knows how to make clothes; the skill has been lost. If something doesn’t change, they are doomed. When her young daughter Tinsley suffers symptoms of hypercapnia, Raven decides to act.

As I’ve come to expect with Matthew S. Cox, the writing is clean, the narrative fast-paced, the world-building plausible and lean. He manages to make even the most mundane and tedious of tasks – fixing wiring – gripping, and he avoids the ‘telling’ trap, showing his readers the dystopian reality he has constructed and offering minimal explanations. Cox has crafted a powerful and independent protagonist in Raven appealing to all readers. I sense a touch of Alien without the hideous monster, and can’t help picturing Sigourney Weaver in the lead role.

The Girl Who Found the Sun will appeal to young adult readers and adults alike, another corker from a master storyteller.

About Matthew S. Cox

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, the Prophet of the Badlands series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.

Links

Amazon link – https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Found-Sun-ebook/dp/B082H3B9T1/

Twitter: @Mscox_Fiction / https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/mscox

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/matthewcox10420/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mscox.author/

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. Her dark fiction includes The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks

Book Review: Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter

About Auxiliary: London 2039

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

My Thoughts

Auxiliary opens with hard-boiled detective Carl Dremmler who arrives at the seen of a death in a London flat. The body is that of Shawn Ambrose, an unemployed roboticist and AltWorld addict who became so sucked into the virtual reality AltWorld affords he forgot to eat. Ambrose had succumbed to ‘disengagement’, a condition in which the addict neglects their own body, dying of thirst, malnutrition or disease. This initial scene introduces the reader to TIM, a single interface referred to as the Time Imagination Machine, technology that covers every aspect of online experience, from shopping and gaming to opening an apartment door. TIM is an operating system that combines Google with Windows and Netflix and everything else out there, the AltWorld it offers making real life obsolete, for the likes of Ambrose. Dremmler himself is intensely critical of TIM and wary of the power it holds, and he hankers for the past, or rather, a part of his past he wishes he could undo.

When Dremmler is called to the case of a gruesome murder, he is faced with an impossible conundrum. Did the accused boyfriend Conor McCann smash his girlfriend’s face into a brick wall of their apartment, or was it his robotic arm that had somehow developed a dark will of its own? At first no one believes McCann’s claim, except Dremmler’s colleague Petrovic. The only way to discover if McCann is telling the truth is to extract the microchip implanted in his brain.

The plot thickens as Dremmler is forced to deal not only with the murder of Letitia Karlikowska, but also with the whereabouts of pretty young AWOL robot Cynthia Lu and a 3D-printed killer louse, in what at first seems like a wild goose chase. Meanwhile, Dremmler is plagued by flashbacks of his deceased daughter Natalie, and he ignores calls from his ex-wife Tessa. Slowly this subplot intertwines with the central investigation in what can only be described a literary tour de force. The ending is breathtakingly action-packed with twist after twist, leaving the reader reeling by the end.

The futuristic reality Richter has created in Auxiliary is rich and believable and immersive. The author deftly lures the reader into his story-world with considerable finesse and a healthy dollop of wit. Robots are everywhere, as housemaids, bar staff, doctors – medbots – and receptionists, dominating, through service, every aspect of everyday life. Cars have been replaced with pods. Robotics is stage centre and largely amoral, although throughout the novel there is a large question mark over TIM. This nagging sense of the possibility of robotic autonomy underpins the narrative and is the lynch pin of Auxiliary‘s noir feel. A secondary and equally prominent critique, conveyed through Dremmler’s observations – and one the author no doubt harbours of our contemporary globalised society – is the great divide of wealth and poverty manifest in Auxiliary: London 2039. The inclusion of The Farm, where maverick and bankrupt roboticist Owen Fox leads a community of rebellious outsiders who have shunned technology, rounds out Richter’s dystopia.

The writing is sharp and taut. Solid pacing with unexpected plot twists and carefully inserted backstory that doesn’t drag on the narrative, all satisfy the thriller genre. The early part of the narrative benefits from Richter’s black humour. As the tension builds, this humour gives way to gripping action scenes and atmospheric descriptions of settings. The protagonist is well-rounded and satisfyingly flawed. Vivid characterisations of cameo roles add colour and vibrancy. Dremmler’s reflections and evaluations of the world he is forced to live in are also very well-executed.

Auxiliary will appeal to fans of straight ahead noir thrillers as much as those with an appetite for the futuristic. There is no doubt in my mind Jon Richter has penned a novel Iain Banks would be proud of. Auxiliary belongs in that stable of classy futuristic noir that only a British author can pen.

If you’re an Iain Banks fan, you’ll love Jon Richter. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084P8JZ3K/

 

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. Her dark fiction includes The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks

 

Book Review: Amelie Trott and the Earth Watchers by Morya Irving

About Amelie Trott and the Earth Watchers

When would-be author, Amelie Trott, meets a ten foot tall stranger on the stairs she is faced with an impossible challenge: to rescue her family home from the clutches of the devious Bottomley-Slighs. However, she is soon to discover that this is simply a rehearsal for averting a more sinister danger still – the End of the World… This is the extraordinary story of how one small girl stopped a planetary catastrophe. It’s a very timely book, written for the child in us all, with a forceful message about the power of young people to transform the world – a theme currently demonstrated by brave young heroes like Greta Thunberg. And with magical synchronicity, the very week Greta began her lone vigil outside the Swedish government last year, over 1,000 miles (1,897 km) away in the fictional world of books, Amelie Trott took to Parliament Square, London – on a mission to avert the End of the World. It’s a family drama with an international feel – set mainly in England but with episodes in Washington DC and around the world.

 

My Thoughts

What a perfectly delightful book this is! We first meet Amelie as a feisty, confident and assertive ten-year old giving a public address, reminiscent of the Greta Thunbergs emerging among the youth of today. We are then taken back to when Amelie is a typical child who hates Maths and gets into trouble with her teacher for mind-wandering. How does Amelie get from being a naive, dreamy and innocent girl to a gifted author capable of averting the end of the world? Initially, the plot has two drivers. Amelie receives a strange visitation from a young boy who predicts she is to become a bestseller author, something she could only dream of, especially as she appears in her own eyes to have no talent for anything much. Then there is the need to save her family’s rundown home. Hadleigh House is on the verge of collapse and it is rumoured there is smuggler’s gold buried in tunnels beneath its foundations. Held within the walls of Amelie’s home is a bad-tempered ghost and a tall stranger and harbinger of doom.

From here, the plot unfolds rapidly with numerous adventures as Amelie and Tim race to save the world. They are helped by the Earth Watchers, higher beings who have chosen to help humanity at a critical time in its evolution, higher beings who have chosen Amelie as their ambassador for change.

The narrative is upbeat and empowering and just what the world needs right now. Irving’s amusing and almost comical characterisations are most endearing. I especially enjoyed the interactions of Amelie and her brother Tim and her great-grandfather Storm.

Beautifully written and immediately engaging, Amelie Trott and the Earth Watchers brims with magical moments and has all the elements of classic storytelling. Irving has penned a tale with broad appeal, enchanting youngsters and adults alike. I would like to see this highly relevant novel taken up by schools.

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A Bailey and Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy

Book Review: Prophet’s Journey by Matthew S Cox

 

About Prophet’s Journey (Prophet of the Badlands) 

Althea struggles to adapt to an unexpected twist in her life—not being kidnapped in six whole months.The strange police from the faraway city claim the abilities she thought of as magic are really ‘psionics,’ and say she is far stronger than anyone they have ever seen. Despite their curiosity, they let her remain in the Badlands to protect her from an evil they call corporations. Of course, Althea knows all too well how powerful her healing gift is. For most of her life, she’d been a prize taken in raids. Tribes have killed to own her, and she let them.But the Prophet is done being passive.Having a family changes everything. No longer afraid to use her powers to protect herself, Althea refuses to be taken again… even when corporate mercenaries find her.

My Thoughts

A Prophet’s Journey is a fabulous book to sink into during our troubled Covid 19 times. The story is told through the eyes of Althea, an innocent eleven-year old struggling to come to terms with life in her adoptive family as everything around her is strange. She’s bilingual, Spanish and English, and the two become muddled in her mind, so much so that an assessment to determine if she is fit for school apportions her the mental age of a six-year old, something Althea is puzzled by. The people in her new home don’t seem to get her. And Althea knows she is mature beyond her years. In the opening chapters, the author masterfully handles the strangeness of Althea’s reality, easing the reader into the dystopian world he has created. This dystopian setting is situated in middle America. Things we take for granted – roads and traffic lights – are to Althea most odd. And that’s just the beginning.

Althea is The Prophet, a great healer, “the child with the blue eyes that lit up like stars.” She is a mystic with paranormal and transformational powers. She has telempathy, the ability to read or change the emotions of others, and this makes her highly sensitive to all impressions. I am reminded of indigo children, those with indigo auras especially sensitive to the high toxicity of the modern era, often with creative, artistic and mystic abilities. They are said to have rather piercing blue eyes, like Althea’s.

Prophet’s Journey is a story of Althea’s quest to return to her adoptive family after she is kidnapped. Thwarting her journey through the Badlands are the Raiders and the robotic tribe Sigma Six. Both groups have only one aim, to kill humans. Beautifully told through the eyes of a child with excellent characterisation especially of the protagonist, Cox delivers a page-turning, post-apocalyptic dystopian adventure with tremendous imagination, wit and insight into the dark and the light of humanity. A refreshing and absorbing read.

 

About Matthew S Cox

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, the Prophet of the Badlands series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, developer of two custom tabletop RPG systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of humanity, reality, life, and what might happen after it.

He is also fond of cats, presently living with two: Loki and Dorian.

Links:

Amazon Prophet’s Journey https://www.amazon.com/Prophets-Journey-Prophet-Badlands-Matthew/dp/1950738019/

Twitter: @Mscox_Fiction / https://twitter.com/mscox_fiction

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/mscox

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‘A Prison In The Sun’ by Isobel Blackthorn

How could I not reblog this fabulous review of A Prison in the Sun! With huge thanks to Gingerbookgeek!

gingerbookgeek

A Prison In The Sun: A Fuerteventura Mystery (Canary Islands Mysteries Book 3) by [Blackthorn, Isobel]Synopsis

After millennial ghostwriter Trevor Moore rents an old farmhouse in Fuerteventura, he moves in to find his muse.

Instead, he discovers a rucksack filled with cash. Who does it belong to – and should he hand it in… or keep it?

Struggling to make up his mind, Trevor unravels the harrowing true story of a little-known concentration camp that incarcerated gay men in the 1950s and 60s.

My Review

If there’s one thing that I like doing, it’s discovering new authors.  Isobel Blackthorn is certainly a new author for me, but after enjoying ‘A Prison In The Sun’ as much as I did, I can guarantee that I will be reading more of her work in the future.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Prison In The Sun’ but more about that in a bit.

I was drawn to this story by the fact that part of the story is…

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