Nightmare City

NIGHTMARE CITY ISBN: 9781698565439 apparently published copyright and written by P. S. Newman.

This Book 1 of the Nightmare City Series, introduces Eden Maybrey, a shade hunter. Shades are the living manifestation of persons conjured up by individuals during a period of sleep. They range in size from small viscous to huge viscous truck sized and occasionally larger animals, as well as human-like individuals. It is believed all are destructive, some being able to electrocute an individual by touch, others coated in flame and/or able to discharge balls of flame from themselves like projectiles from a gun and produce death and destruction in numerous other ways.  Much of the city is in ruins and the inhabitants in constant fear for their lives. Thus, the remaining portions of the city are heavily fortified and an entire department of shade hunters has been established and functions 24/7. Occasionally, a helpful rather than destructive, variant appears. However, because so much destructive activity has been exhibited by so many, the law has decreed that all must be eliminated on sight. Serious consequences result from disobeying this law or in any way attempting to shield or not report such aberrations. Because of the increasing number of lives often heroically saved by these ‘good shades’ a clandestine operation has been initiated by a group banded together as the Society for Higher Acceptance and Integration of Dreams (SHAID). It has been initiated, and originally funded by a pair of wealthy owners of a pharmacological manufacturing company, David and Sean, the first of whom is about to marry Cecelia, the city’s most relied upon homicide detective. The reader further discovers that, unknown to other than Cecelia, her 17-year-old sister Bella, David and Sean and a very few Directors of SHAID, Eden also is a shade who was dreamed into existence by Bella. From this point the plot expands to include another prominent shade hunter who literally despises the aberrations and is assigned to partner with Eden; a ‘good’ shade produced from Eden’s dreams; a shade sword that can think and speak; and several additional characters who produce a quite involved series of activities.

Discussion: To divulge additional material from this book would be a distinct disservice to the prospective reader. It is pure dark paranormal fantasy moving at an accelerated pace through an entangled plot that is quite unique. It offers a ‘new wrinkle’ that should appeal to, and be most enjoyed by, devotees of the genre.

5* Fast paced, pure dark paranormal fantasy with a ‘new wrinkle’.

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball ISBN: 9781543939651 assumed published copyright and written by Eddie McPherson.

Dereck constantly is baby-sitting his 6-year-old sister Jessie because his mother has had to find a second job since his father died last year. He loves her and doesn’t mind except when meeting his friends who mock him. He has taken Jessie to the carnival where she now is riding a horse on the carousel and waves every time she passes him. Two of his friends see him and begin their usual routines. While he is occupied with them, he looks back and finds that Jessie is nowhere to be seen. From this moment, he is whisked away on an incredible journey through the land in which all of the characters about whom he has been reading to Jessie, reside. It is a world in which monsters, dragons, witches, fairies, magic and more and where Little Red Ridinghood, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and other of these famous people live.

Discussion: The author has provided a second novel to accompany the first which also had deposited him in this other world for a time before returning him to his home. His creative style is one that young readers will find entertaining and adults involved may discover amusing reminiscence. It is somewhat longer than most children’s books, but its pace and frequent introduction of new scenes and players should overcome any deterrent influence.

5* Enjoyable children’s book even adults reminiscently may enjoy.

Master of the World

Master of the World Book Two of the Chelandra Trilogy, Rocanadron Press, copyright and written by Karina McRoberts.

This second book in the Chelandra series continues to follow the travels of Galla as she continues throughout her world on the only dirigible that has been built and, as explained in book one, has been given to her. Her world still is suffering from numerous devastating earthquakes and still encountering periods of plague-like disease that some finally are associating with their principle mining product ‘rockscar’ that contributes to the city/states’ wealth. She meets numerous new individuals and associates again with old acquaintances; is forced to spend time in a Muslim-like culture that appears in some ways to be even more like the old Caliph era where men’s’ and women’s quarters were separate entities with eunuchs providing security for these latter; problems of what was being done with immigrants; another war with the Qudasi again attacking Gaklari; attempting not to have anyone killed for any reason whatsoever until faced with the question when the act might be mandatory in order to save individuals important to her; suffers heartbreak and resulting despair; descends into loneliness and self-loathing and feels like a child with no one to whom she can turn until suddenly a figure appears to offer her help. The person is Vrenfru, the brilliant leader from book one who gradually deteriorated mentally until passing away. When questioned, he convinces her that although physically dead, he “just is” and will always answer her call if needed. Meanwhile, her companions Masandi and her uncle are conducting their own crusade with some not quite expected results that lead to the appearance of the first firearm with again resultant speculation about their use; and finally bittersweet termination of this volume to lead into the final book in the trilogy.

Discussion: The author has introduced an occult figure that furthers the fanciful thrust of this trilogy. No doubt this addition, as well as the rest of the story’s rambling content, will continue to have great appeal to those who enjoy pure fantasy. Galla is as headstrong as in the first volume and makes as many rash decisions, but now without the restraining influence by her uncle, so the described reactions result. Her acquaintances similarly continue in their expected paths and new villainous characters arise. The author, obviously most knowledgeable of world conditions as well as historical facts, introduces many controversial subjects that are most relevant to today’s situation throughout much of the world. She also demonstrates a thoughtful sensitivity by explaining the derivation of tunes included in the body of the work that provide sensations in accord with the music. Regrettably  therefore and with apologies to the author, this reviewer finds Galla’s continued activity as a ‘spoiled child’ in addition to the continued rambling character of the tale leading to introduction of the elements prevalent in today’s societal activity, detract from this otherwise completely fanciful tale. It also is strongly suggested that a prospective reader become acquainted with the contents of volume one before continuing with this trilogy.

3* 5* Well-written, fanciful tale; -2 for reasons provided.

Chelandra

Chelandra ISBN: 9780994596512 published by Recanadon Press, copyright with and created by Karina McRoberts.

This is Book one of the Chelandra Trilogy that opens in the area of Blya in a fantasy “world of two suns, fabulous ecologies and geologic chaos”. The reader finds young Prince Shirau Ajaner, accompanied by his 2nd in command/mentor and his small band or soldiers attempting to gain help for another war that is imminent. They are exhausted having travelled many leagues, often under attack, when they arrive at their destination. Regrettably, the inhabitants of this city/state are unfriendly because of actions in past relationships and treat them badly. During this time and the ensuing period the reader discovers that the city has become immensely wealthy from mining but are neglecting gathering the crops necessary to sustain them during the winter’s impossible times. The town’s inhabitants, the structure of government, the ruling figures and numerous others also are introduced. At this particular time, the city is experiencing a virtual take-over of governance by a brilliant man who unfortunately is experiencing a mental deterioration. Added to their problems is the fact that they are experiencing some type of strange illness that they are afraid might be some variation of a dreaded plague as well as the occurrence of some massive earthquakes. Numerous other characters are introduced with the story focused eventually on young Blyan teenager Galla Jenker, her well-travelled uncle Obronder and a strangely talented young dark-skinned Masande as they travel extensively. War does come with considerable damage to the young prince’s city/state bringing closure seemingly to this part of the trilogy while involving Galla, her uncle and Masande in a part of the unfortunate episode. The tale ends as these latter three prepare to journey on to the next episode.

Discussion: The author, who this reviewer understands participates in quite varied activities, has provided readers with a story of interesting and empathetic characters as they appear to ramble almost leisurely, but dangerously, through a land of pure fantasy where even the well-described and often referred to, seasons have unusual names – Rahber (winter), Remi (spring), Vahlande (summer), VaRemi (autumn). This is a tale replete with interesting characters, and even an animal and bird of fantasy that aficionados of the genre will find difficult to put down.

5* Fantasy aficionados should love this book.

Forlorn

Forlorn, a dark story of suspense ISBN: 9781978440180 Vinspire Publishing, an e-book copyright 2017 and written by Gina Detwiler.

A prologue describes the situation that results in Grace Fortune being pulled by her Guardian Angel when she is 6 years old from the flaming wreck of her family’s automobile that consumes her parents. The story begins as Grace, now sixteen and being raised by her aunt and uncle, is a student at the Buffalo Arts Academy, where although suffering from a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder, possesses a lovely voice and ability to play the piano. With her are her somewhat misfit friends that include scientifically inclined and quite pragmatic Ethan Ellerman who is there on full scholarship as a designer of video games, artistically inclined Brianna (Bree) Reynolds who at the moment points out a newcomer to the school who is every girl’s dream man, Jared Lorn with muscular build, almost white hair and strikingly blue penetrating eyes and his seeming attraction to Grace. Ethan points out that Jaren is a felon and was transferred here because he had stabbed another student with a fork at a different school. He heard that he moved from “Ohio or Oregon, something with an O anyway”. However he was said to play the guitar amazingly well. Only shortly thereafter Derick Holder, the boy with whom Jared had fought appeared at the lunch room and opened fire with an automatic weapon. Ethan is struck in the stomach and falls into Grace’s lap bleeding profusely. She calls out “Derick! Please stop! Stop shooting.” Her guardian cries out to Grace to sing a special song which he sings to her in the night when she has bad dreams from the Dark Ones seeking a way in. Her singing causes Derrick to hesitate and suddenly Jared moves as a blurred figure knocking the gun from his hand and literally throwing him against a large plate glass window with sufficient force to shatter the glass killing Derick. From this moment the tale becomes one of war between forces of good and evil including different levels of both with guardians, archangels, appearance of ‘the Risen One”, demons, fallen angels, the Nephilim, the importance of faith and the power of prayer per se and through music.

Discussion: The author has presented a most unusual fantasy that may well appeal to readers, especially YA who enjoy conflicts between good and evil forces as they vie for dominance in the living world. The trials and tribulations of the two protagonists are suspenseful as they engage in a series of activities that take them on remarkable journeys. Regrettably, from this reader’s perspective, the tale contains numerous hiccups that are difficult to accept and therefore may require a SPOILER ALERT. If, however a reader enjoys unusual suspenseful fantasy stories pitting the forces of good versus those of the ethereal dark side, obtain the book, enjoy and do NOT read further.

Two of the most difficult discrepancies for this reader to reconcile are: Much is made of the fact that Grace’s parents were completely destroyed by the fiery crash. Yet her mother suddenly appears with an entirely different scenario? Neither Grace nor her friends know much about Jared and seemingly nothing about Derrick yet Grace speaks to him by name and is uncertain when he left school when he is massacring the students?

Conclusion: A fascinating fantasy that should be of particular interest to younger readers and most especially to those of religious inclination. Regrettably and although having enjoyed many tales in the fantasy genre, this reviewer apologetically cannot reconcile the plot discrepancies mentioned.

3* 5* Fascinating fantasy for many; -2* for reasons described.

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things Sumer McKenzie, Inc. an e-book copyright and written by Calinda B.

In this first book of a new sequence group, The Beckoning Series, Marissa Engles is in Las Vegas for a week-end with a dear friend and her two slightly older married sisters. Her sisters want her to ‘loosen up’ and enjoy a week-end fling while exercising some caution apropos secret instructions from a repressive aunt with whom she lived for some time after her parents met with a fatal airplane crash. Her close friend wants her to forget any restrictions. Marissa is a successful artist recovering from a disastrous break-up with her last boyfriend and really does not want to again be involved. However, without her knowledge, she is designated as part of a group of individuals who ‘keep the balance between good and evil within the world’. Her presence in Las Vegas actually is the result of maneuvering by this group for her to be impregnated with a special element that will ensure that she assumes her proper place within the activities of the group. The story continues as she meets a ‘surfer dude’ who teaches relaxation and also a male dancer at one of the Las Vegas clubs. It escalates with description of gradually increasing titillating activity. The finale provides a basis for the projected following episodes.

This is a fast moving, well written tale with interesting characters and an engaging fantasy plot that gradually increases in sexual involvement. This introductory volume projects interesting elements for sequential material.

5* Should have great appeal for this best-selling author’s readers.