Review: The Melody of Three by S.D. Reeves

The Melody of Three

Author: S.D. Reeves

Published: December 2, 2019

Publisher: Riversong Books

Format: eBook

Source: Author Request

Sorcerer Christaan De Rein’s return to Liverpool does not go well, starting with the fact that his trusted apprentice, Higgins, dies on the way. Then again, Higgins dies a lot. Of course, Rein doesn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms after being banished for nine years, but a cryptic summons from The Musician herself cannot go unanswered.

But when Rein arrives all is in chaos. People with fairy blood are turning up dead. The Forum Magicae is undone and the Curators sieged.

And in another world altogether, where Earth is just a legend, a girl named Niena and a cursed lyre hold the key to saving both realms. Or destroying them.

I accepted this book review request in May and have just now gotten to it due to blog tour commitments (or over commitments), a promotion at work, and some other life things that have gotten in the way.  I shouldn’t have waited so long, but also I was ‘sleeping’ on this one!  What a fantastic beginning to a trilogy!  I love the mashup of magic and clockwork which created a vivid steampunk world! 

Christiaan is such a witty and wry character, something I absolutely enjoy in fiction.  His assistant, Higgins is a delectable character as well!  I found that all of the characters,  main or side, were well developed and thoroughly fleshed out.  I didn’t have to suspend belief to believe that they were indeed real and were indeed a bit loony.  This book is jam packed with magic, fantasy elements, and a ton of steampunk!  I’ve read a few works of clockwork literature, but this one is smashing.  Some works only grasp at what a clockwork novel could be, but this fully explores it!

I agree with other reviewers, it takes the author about 1/4 of the book to really hit their stride with the narrative.  I didn’t mind this at all actually, because the overall plot and story development was so well done!  I am very glad that this is the first book in a trilogy from S.D. Reeves because I need the next book as soon as possible.  I picked up on the influences from classical and more modern fantasy authors and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I spent with this book.

Thank you to author S.D. Reeves for sending a review request to me!  I fully appreciate your work and am so glad you gave my blog the opportunity to read such a great work!  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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#xpressotours Blog Tour – Balthazar’s Bane by Kat Ross

Balthazar’s Bane
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #6)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: July 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

A bungled murder.
A ridiculous quest.
And a hero with extremely dodgy credentials.

Christmas 1889. Count Balthazar Jozsef Habsburg-Koháry tries to lead a simple life.

Oh, he enjoys a few hobbies.

Collecting ancient Egyptian artifacts. Hunting necromancers with a wire garrote. Impersonating dead Hungarian nobility. Seducing an endless string of women who never suspect the price of the count’s attentions.

But considering what Balthazar used to be like, these pursuits are harmless. And surely he deserves a reward for assassinating the elusive necromancer John Mortlake in the middle of Cairo’s teeming bazaar. What could be better than a holiday cruise up the Nile with his secretary Lucas Devereaux?

There’s just one thing that might ruin his mood.

If, for example, someone stole the talisman that’s kept him alive for two thousand years.

That would really suck.

Unfortunately for Balthazar, he just killed the wrong necromancer – one with a vengeful daughter and huge debts to some very shady djinn. To get his mojo back, he and Lucas must find a legendary sword and liberate a desert kingdom of magical misfits. For centuries, the people of Al Miraj have sought a valiant champion willing to face the wrath of the arch demon Fulad-zereh!

What they get is Balthazar.

But the gods always did like a good joke.

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This is book six in the Gaslamp Gothic series, though I didn’t feel that I had to have read the first 5 books to understand this book.  It almost read like a standalone, though I did need to consult reviews of the other books for a couple of pieces of information.  I would recommend that readers start from book one, but I felt fine starting at book six.  I was so excited to discover this series through this book tour and wow, I am hooked!  It’s part Victorian, part paranormal, part Sherlock Holmes mystery, and 100% fun! 

This book has fantastic paranormal/fantasy elements blended with a rollicking narrative!  Balthazar is such an interesting character with so much flair and personality!  Also, Lucas is exceedingly interesting as well!  Of course, these characters have had 5 books before this installment for character development, but I think that both Balthazar and Lucas are well written in book six!  Zarifa is intriguing and fiery! The character development in this book series is spot on!

The main plot line in this book takes place in Egypt, a place ripe with interesting history and a history of paranormal/fantasy elements that lend themselves perfectly to this book!  I felt like I couldn’t put this book down!  There were demons, djinn, necromancers, talismans, disguises, mystery, and so much more!  I love that all of this fantastical goodness is wrapped up in an original world, featuring some of the places we love like Egypt! 

Overall, this is an extremely well written book that I would rate as “couldn’t put it down.”  I would love to read the first five books in this series!   Kat Ross is an extremely talented writer that blends developed characters into rich worlds to create masterful works of literature!  I will definitely be following along for more installments in this series!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours, Kat Ross, and Acorn Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book as part of this tour!

Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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@sot_tours Blog Tour: A Hero’s Downfall by Tony Johnson

The Story of Evil: A Hero’s Downfall

by

Tony Johnson

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publication: March 4, 2020

Age Group: Adult

During an entertaining jousting tournament, a mysterious villain attacks the capital with his army. Because of this disastrous event, Stephen Brightflame, a nineteen-year-old who aspires to become a knight, embarks on a quest to save the kingdom from further destruction. He joins up with a convicted felon, an arrogant warrior, and a Halfling woman, but quickly learns their pasts are just as dark and disturbing as his own. Experience the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy that’s been called, “fascinating and captivating” featuring “well-rounded, enjoyable characters, intense action scenes, and riveting twists” (The US Review of Books and Self-Publishing Review).

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The Story of Evil:  A Hero’s Downfall is a wonderful work of sword and sorcery fiction!  This series has been re-edited and combined into a trilogy for release in 2020!  Another epic fantasy novel that draws you in from page 1 and doesn’t let you go until the very end!  There is a cast of characters the reader meets in the beginning, humans, elves, halflings, dwarves, and a dragon among others!  It can be challenging to keep up with all of the characters, but Tony Johnson really keeps it all together in a great way!  I never felt lost in the names and always felt like I knew where I was within the story and the world of the story.

A note about names.  I love the names in this book!  First, Stephen Brightflame goes by Steve.  Which I find a bit comical, but also very fitting!  It’s a simplistic name for a decidedly non-simplistic character!  Steve is funny, interesting, and oh so full of life!  Also, Clyx?  I love it!  A horse sort of side-kick with an amazing name?  Here for it!  Kari is another great character, along with Ty!  There are many more characters in this book, but I would encourage you to read it to find out more!  Your favorite character might be someone else!  Could it be Cassandra?  Titus?  Or Nightstrike himself?

The pacing of this book is fast!  From start to finish, I was hooked!  It’s rare for me to have a truly, “couldn’t put it down” experience.  I had one with this novel!  Tony is a talented writer who knows how to weave background information into plot.  I didn’t feel like I had information dumped on me at any point in the book!  I can see the elements of high fantasy in this book and the influences from more modern high fantasy writers!  It’s a thrill ride of swords, magic, dragons, griffins, kings, elements, orphans, action, and friendship!  All the elements of fantasy that I love out of a book in this genre!

Another great book on tour with Storyteller’s on Tour!  Thank you to the SoT team and Tony Johnson for the opportunity to read and review this book!  It’s on my recommendation list for epic fantasy novels and I’ll certainly be looking forward to the next chapter in this series! All opinions are my own and I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Zack Argyle was raised with a wonderful family mTony Johnson is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Story of Evil. He is an avid reader who enjoys fantasy, classic novels, Shakespeare, and Christian literature. He is also a fan of movies, television, videogames, and Tennessee Titans football. He graduated with a Bachelors in English Literature from SUNY Brockport with a certification to teach 7th-12th grade English and Special Education. Tony lives in Batavia, NY and is currently finishing up his Masters Degree and working on the final book in the Story of Evil trilogy.

@sot_tours Blog Tour: Voice of War by Zack Argyle

Voice of War

by

Zack Argyle

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Publication: March 19, 2020

Age Group: Adult

While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers—those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head that began during the war grows louder, begging to be released.

Laurel lives in Zedalum, a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild. During her most recent messenger run, Laurel veered off course to explore the streets of Alchea. She never expected that her journey would end in chains.

When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting a strange girl or the dark voice in his mind.

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Voice of War is a fantastic and original epic fantasy by Zack Argyle!  I am so excited to be on tour with Storyteller’s on Tour!  They have so many consistently good books on tour!  This book was so good and such a great epic fantasy! 

There is so much to unpack here that I enjoyed!  The magic system is interesting and original.  I felt like there was some foreshadowing in the beginning few chapters, but it really wasn’t too obvious, which I appreciated!  The pacing is just right and I felt like I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book!  Once I started reading, I didn’t realize I was already halfway through the book!  I know there are some facets of the book that we’ve heard about before as readers of fantasy, like light weavers, but I really felt like the structure of the story and characters were original and oh so relatable!  I felt the highs and lows, the struggles within Chrys.  The point of view switching, even as brief as it was at some points, felt different and innovative!

Some indie books can get lost in the weeds of dialogue, but Voice of War has a great blend of dialogue, action, and plot twists!  Great character development, interesting plot, and just enough drama to give us a well-balanced and innovative epic fantasy!  Overall, this is a solid fantasy book and I am so glad I read this!  Perfect for fans of epic/high fantasy, like Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss!

Than you so much to the author and Storyteller’s on Tour for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!  Don’t forget to check out all the stops on this tour!

Zack Argyle was raised with a wonderful family motto: don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. What better way than to write fiction? He spends his days writing code and his nights writing epic stories about family, love, loss, friendship, and pain all intermixed with a heavy dose of the fantastical.

Blog Tour: Undercover Goddess by Karen Cavalli with #rabtbooktours


Book 1 of the No Boundaries Trilogy

Fantasy

Date Published: July 24

Publisher: Blue Fortune Enterprises LLC, Lavender Press

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 In 2400 BCE Crete, 18-year-old Mave keeps the old spirituality alive, primarily through her clay chips and the symbolic images she paints on them, the original runes. She falls in love with Tear, a semi-divine being born both male and female, and finds an ally in Inna, a former holy prostitute kicked out of her communal home. The Gigante from the northern tribes marry the holy prostitutes then replace the Goddess of the temple with a Sun God who loves order and lighting bolts. Girls and women, formerly revered stand-ins for the Goddess and her creator, the cave-dwelling Ssha, either go underground with their beliefs or find a way to fit in the new culture. As it turns out the old ways of the Goddess had its flaws, and this creates the opportunity for the Gigante and their sun God to move in.

 


I am very excited that this book is going to be part of a trilogy! I found Undercover Goddess to be mythical, fantastical, and incredibly interesting! This is another very unique book with incredible world-building that is very well done! I love the matriarchal/Amazonian feel of the narrative and the cover is stunning! There are so many facets and interesting story lines in this book!

The plot and pacing were good! I’m excited for the next books in this series! I also enjoyed the character development of Mave. The variety and composition of the characters was so unique! It is really a great book! I will be looking forward to more novels from this author!

Thank you so much to the author and RABT Book Tours & PR for the opportunity to participate in this tour!

About the Author

Karen Cavalli, née Lound, writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has been published online and in books. Her work has won awards including Outstanding Secondary Science Book. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University where she earned a B.A., and The University of Alabama’s MFA in Creative Writing Program where she studied with Margaret Atwood. She has worked in technology for over 10 years. She taught a writing course on the topic of psychological descent at the University of Minnesota and in North Carolina. Her work in technology has taken her to India and China and allowed her to work with individuals in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the emirate of Dubai. She loves her local Savage library and volunteers there. She can be contacted at kcgoodguide@gmail.com

 

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Blog Tour: Nightmasters by Loran Holt with #rabtbooktours


Doubles Talk Book 1

General Fantasy

Date Published: June 30

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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Kelgan Defthand is used to being top dog at the Academy of Magic where he is Senior Apprentice Mage. Compared to his peers, he’s faster, more skillful, and well aware of it, but when he finds himself beset by fearful voices that come in the night, his confidence is shaken.

Adding to his worries, Kelgan is summoned to the headmaster, Sargal’s presence; it looks like he’s really in trouble. But to his bewilderment, he finds he’s being sent on a “mission” with two very hostile-seeming aristocratic twins, Neroma and Nevander Di Nerrill.

Upon embarking on this mission with the twins, Kelgan soon realizes the world outside the cloistered Academy is a bit different than he imagined. First of all, there seems to be women doing magic! Secondly, he’s not the only one hearing voices.

Following a strange compulsion, Kelgan and the Di Nerrills find themselves seeking out the source of the voices, hoping to put an end to it.

The fateful journey tests Kelgan’s underdeveloped skills to the limit, and could come at an unbearable cost to both to him and his companions. Once Kelgan accepts the challenge of Magehood, there’s no going back.

 


Nightmasters is the first book in a new series for Loran Holt which follows a familiar formula, but includes fresh twists and great writing!  We open with Kelgan, a new-ish mage who generally only know life inside the Academy.  What follows is a rollicking, coming of age (sort of) tale of an untested mage, still unfamiliar in his own skin, who has to navigate the trials and tribulations that the outside world present.  Along with his companions, the Di Nerrill twins, Kelgan seeks answers to questions that are plaguing him!

The character development is solid and I love a good journey novel!  The magic system is fun, with action around every corner – be it a magical encounter, a deep conversation, or another adventure!  Kelgan talks to himself a lot, which is usually denoted in italicized text.  I liked this, it let the reader into Kelgan’s mind without writing in the first person.  I enjoy seeing the entire picture and not being contained within one person’s perspective all the time. 

The plot moved along quickly, which I appreciated!  This is the first book in the series and I believe a debut from Loran Holt and it is a strong work!  I loved learning the world that Kelgan and his companions inhabit and all of the little magical nuances that are included.  Kelgan is learning just as much about himself and the world as we are and I liked having a “companion character” with which to learn!

I am definitely looking forward to more books from Loran Holt, particularly following Kelgan and his adventures!  Overall, this was a neat book with a fun premise that I would share with anyone who is in the upper YA to adult category and loves fantasy books!

Thank you to Acorn Publishing, Loran Holt, and the folks at RABT Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book on tour!  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 About the Author

Recently retired from a job as a university professor, and looking for a diversion in sunny Southern California, Loran Holt did what any Southern California does – took up writing, of course. Feeling that sword and sorcery fitted her personality admirably, she set her sights on that genre. Nightmasters is the result, and her first work of published fiction, but she is already the published author of two books on the Silent Film era, with a third on the way. Recently

 

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Review: Deadheading by Paul Cristo

Deadheading

Author: Paul Cristo

Published: March 30, 2020

Publisher: PaJe Press

Format: eBook

Source: Author Request

A bizarre sickness is infecting the planet, turning its victims into contorted piles of flesh. Lewis barely notices though, rarely looking up from his number-crunching job and voracious appetite for streaming entertainment. But his life changes forever after waking up one morning to find the world’s population eradicated. Stranded without food or water, he’s forced to use ingenuity to survive, foraging resources from the desolate city around him.

Until he discovers he’s not alone.

Lewis’s new life is threatened by a violent gang of gun-wielding scavengers. He learns these men are harvesting survivors, inflicting slavery and torture for a horrifying purpose.

Outmanned and outgunned, Lewis and some newfound friends must band together, employing their collective wit and cunning against a deadly foe to avoid being killed. Or worse… captured. 

DEADHEADING is a post-apocalyptic journey of survival, ingenuity, and a dollop of vengeance. 

Deadheading is a new release and debut from author Paul Cristo.  It’s not quite This Is the End, but it’s got a really funny layer of satire running through the entire novel.  It’s also not exactly Zombieland, since there aren’t zombies, but it has that humorous element.  You wouldn’t think Lewis, our main character, would be cut out for surviving the end of the world, but man is it fun reading as he tries to survive! 

The inciting event here is a global pandemic that transforms and kills people and WOW did I feel it when Lewis talked about not having some necessities.  It’s really topical and almost too real for at some points because of the current global pandemic.  It’s a rollicking adventure through the end of the world with a funny narrator and danger around every corner.  I really reminded me of The Martian because Lewis has to figure out how to do so many things from finding books in a library.  He doesn’t exactly grow potatoes in dirt fertilized with his own feces, but it’s nicely similar.

There is some gore, but that’s to be expected in an adult level science fiction book.  It’s post-apocalyptic in the best way and I really enjoyed it!  Lewis is great and I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this!  This is a really promising debut and I’m excited to see what Paul Cristo writes next!

Thank you to the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

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Review: When Jackals Storm the Walls by Bradley B. Beaulieu

When Jackals Storm the Walls

Author: Bradley B. Beaulieu

Publishing: July 14, 2020

Publisher: DAW

Format: eBook

Source: NetGalley

The fifth book in The Song of the Shattered Sands series–an epic fantasy with a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.

The reign of the kings of Sharakhai has been broken. The blood mage, Queen Meryam, now rules the city along with the descendants of the fabled twelve kings.

In the desert, Çeda has succeeded in breaking the asirim’s curse. Those twisted creatures are now free, but their freedom comes at great cost. Nalamae lies dead, slain in battle with her sister goddess. Çeda, knowing Nalamae would have been reborn on her death, sets out on a quest to find her.

The trail leads Çeda to Sharakhai where, unbeknownst to her, others are searching for Nalamae as well. Çeda’s quest to find her forces her into a terrible decision: work with the kings or risk Sharakhai’s destruction.

Whatever her decision, it won’t be easy. Sharakhai is once more threatened by the forces of the neighboring kingdoms. As the powers of the desert vie for control of the city, Çeda, her allies, and the fallen kings must navigate the shifting fates before the city they love falls to the schemes of the desert gods.

When Jackals Storm the Walls is the fifth installment in The Song of Shattered Stars Series by Bradley B. Beaulieu.  I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series, but  I read through several reviews and there were synopses included in my ARC copy that were incredibly helpful in finding out where I was in the series.  Though epic fantasy series like this can get convoluted with complicated plot lines, etc, I felt that the author had done a great job in separating out plot lines and showing the reader a complete picture of the story.  That being said, there are several characters and many plot lines to follow, which can be a bit confusing if you haven’t read the first 4 books, but that’s not a criticism.  I would have been much more prepared if I’d read the first four books.

I felt the plot was solid, this is a series based largely on One Thousand and One Nights, which is an epic collection of stories in itself.  I found it to be a great re-telling with rich set pieces and wonderful character design.  There is romance, particularly in the books leading up this one, but it’s not the focus of the story.  This series has had 4 other books of character development leading up to When Jackals Storm the Walls, and that is very evident throughout the narrative.  This book has well-developed characters who all play integral parts in the ultimate conclusion of the novel.  When I say sweeping backdrops, I’m taking sweeping.  Huge deserts, grand palaces, ancient tombs, and so much more in this story!

From start to finish, I enjoyed this book and I will be picking up the previous 4 books as well as a physical copy of this title as well.  This is an epic fantasy series that hasn’t been on my radar, but should definitely be on yours! 

Thank you to NetGalley, DAW, and the author for the chance to read this book!  I received a galley copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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@sot_tours Blog Tour: Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach

Guild of Tokens

by

Jon Auerbach

Genre: Urban Fantasy (unconventional)

Publication: June 25, 2019

Age Group: Adult

SHE WANTS TO LEVEL UP HER HUMDRUM EXISTENCE. BUT HER NEXT QUEST COULD SPELL LIFE OR DEATH.

Jen Jacobs’s nights are spent traversing a strange city finding hidden objects, slaying dragons, and tangling with a host of fellow adventurers. And her days are spent counting down the seconds until she can return to the grind and continue racking up tokens and leveling up.

Except Jen isn’t playing a video game.

It’s all real and happening right in New York City.

After a particularly harrowing quest pairs her up with Beatrice Taylor, a no-nonsense and ambitious mentor, Jen hopes she’s on the path to becoming a big-time player. But as she dives deeper into the game’s hidden agenda, she realizes Beatrice has her sights set on the Guild, the centuries-old organization that runs the Questing game. And the quests Jen loves are about to put both of them in grave danger.

Will Jen survive the game before powerful forces cut her real life short?

Guild of Tokens is a thrilling new twist on conventional urban fantasy. If you like determined heroines, gritty cityscapes, and vampire-free adventures, then you’ll love Jon Auerbach’s rollercoaster tale.

It’s so hard for me to begin this review, because I enjoyed this book so much!  This is a self-described unconventional urban fantasy, which a tantalizing mystery, an all knowing secret organization, and a secret that runs so deep through the heart of New York City.

Jen is a coder by day and Quester by night, but also day sometimes too.  In the beginning, we get glimpses of Jen’s regular life as a resident of NYC, but the reader is quickly introduced to the Quest Board and the infrastructure that holds it all together.  With every chapter, Auerbach gives us a tiny morsel of information that will, we hope, eventually be part of the bigger picture of what’s going on in the story.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to solve the puzzle with Jen as she navigates through the world of Quests, tokens, requesters, etc.  It takes an incredible amount of skill to keep your reader guessing at every turn and I commend Auberbach for this achievement.

The relationships between the characters are carefully developed, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between Jen and Beatrice, which doesn’t develop fully until about 1/4 of the way into the book.  Another point is that some urban fantasy books can be nonstop action, but this book is action threaded through a fantastic puzzle, with a splash of magic.  I was glad that every scene was not an action sequence, but there is absolutely danger in this book, though subtle at points. 

The plot and pacing kept me engaged from cover to cover.  Overall, this is a great urban fantasy with a unique premise!  Guild of Tokens is on tour with Storyteller’s On Tour to celebrate the release of the audiobook!  Be sure to order your copy today, enter the giveaway below, and see all of the other great stops on this tour!

Thank you to Jon Auerbach and Storyteller’s on Tour for having me on this tour!  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This was a pleasure to read!

Jon Auerbach’s love of fantasy began at the tender age of six, when his parents bought him the classic 1977 animated version of The Hobbit (the less said about the recent trilogy, the better). His passion for sci-fi developed from nights watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and from his dad’s old paperback copies of Foundation and I, Robot.

Jon writes in both genres and hopes to pass on his stories to the next generation, including his kids, who have their own copy of The Hobbit that they lovingly call “the Bilbo book.”

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Review: Red Hail by Jamie Killen

Red Hail

Author: Jamie Killen

Published: January 21, 2020

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Format: eBook

Source: Author Request

Professor Colin Ayres has spent years researching the strange story of Galina, Arizona, a sleepy border town ripped apart by violence and paranoia after the outbreak of a mysterious illness in 1960. Colin is certain the Galina Incident was simply a case of mass hysteria. But when his partner, Alonzo, starts exhibiting strange symptoms, Colin is shocked to realize they are the same as those that emerged in Galina decades ago.

As Alonzo’s condition worsens, Colin scrambles to piece together what really happened during that terrible summer in the past. He uncovers a story of murder, corruption, and fanaticism. The deeper he digs, the more he becomes convinced that what happened in Galina wasn’t mass hysteria after all.

When others start to develop the same eerie symptoms, Colin must confront the possibility that someone—or something—is driving the plague. Guided by rumors of a person who found a way to stop the plague in the sixties, Colin races to find answers before the disease destroys Alonzo and everyone else it touches.

Red Hail is a dual-timeline mystery, science fiction novel that is part historical fiction and part first contact. While this description sounds confusing, the book is decidedly not confusing! I found the book very easy to follow, even with the timeline hopping. Events that transpired in 1960 are now happening in 2020 and professor Colin Ayers must figure out what is going on in order to save his partner Alonzo.

The first few chapters are dedicated to world building, which is done with a very light hand. Author Jamie Killen is able to give the readers actual conflict with enough context to pick up on the nuances of the dual story. Colin will stop at nothing to save Alonso, which makes him such a noble character! I love the idea that in the 1960s there was alleged mas hysteria, there have been several evets like this in the world. It’s a great premise for a science fiction book!

The pacing was great and I felt like I was drawn in by page 1! I couldn’t put this book down and it is quickly becoming a new favorite in science fiction/historical/first contact novel! It’s super relatable and I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys science fiction, particularly set in the old west.

Thank you to the author, Jamie Killen, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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