Something Found: A coin

Something Found: A Coin, published copyright and written by Troy Aaron Ratliff.

The reader is introduced to Todd Freeman, a middle-aged man who leaves Ohio to drive down to Key West, Florida where he establishes a studio. He is a good artist selling enough paintings to support himself and his studio. He is recognized by the locals for this, but also as a ‘Good Samaritan’. When Todd is not painting, he loves to roam the beaches with a top-of-the-line metal detector. He finds a lot of odd metal, and a considerable number of small coins and an occasional piece of value. And this is the reason for presenting him with a humanitarian award. Rather than gaining money for the valuable piece found, this “Selfless Scavenger” attempts to find and return the item to the rightful owner. As the story advances, we discover more about Todd’s early developed talent, marriage and arrival of a son that required a better income than that available for a new and unknown artist. Apparently he has other talents as well, which develop into the type of success every one associates with the American Dream. However, this purportedly idyllic life is destroyed by a catastrophic event that has led him to his journey to find solace in his original love of art and the success he has achieved within the last three years. However, once again fate intervenes when he discovers a most unusual penny with his metal detector and he is forced to flee for his life. He is saved with help from a number of strange individuals he does not know and begins a search for the answer to a long existent and well known mystery that has plagued an area of the Atlantic Ocean for many years, a unique and deadly problem that extensive scientific investigation has not been able to solve.

Discussion: the author has offered a most fascinating introduction to another possible answer to this strange phenomenon that has plagued scientists along with everyone else for many years. For this reviewer, the writing contains unnecessarily long descriptions of the trip, terrain, et al of the trip to and from Miami to Key West, but apologetically this may result from personal familiarity. Overall, the author has provided a fascinating opening book to what could be entrée to series exploring an intriguing addition to those proposals already set forth.

5* First of trilogy proposing cause of long standing phenomenon.

 

 

Cycladic Girls

Cycladic Girls ISBN: 9781735123004 first published by Aegis Press copyright and written by Patrick Garner.

Sub-titled Celebrities, Deities, Love & Power; Greek Gods in the Modern World, this second book in a series (first, The Winnowing) states that the characters are not based on living persons. Rather, only the gods and goddesses are real. An author’s note explains that it is a ‘stand-alone’ volume but readers would find references to events in the first to appear frequently here in the second. For example here, Jackson Night is the story’s narrator and is an individual Lachesis, one of the three Fates who control life spans of mortals and gods alike made him a-mortal; e.g. he, like the gods, will live forever but is not immortal as are the gods, including his wife Danaë, who is a demi-God, daughter of the god of the seas, Poseidon and his human wife. The tale, as related by Jackson, follows the progress of Timessa, a nymph protected by Artemis (Apollo’s sister) who, feeling ‘controlled’ decides to leave and gradually evolves into what they know as ‘The Great One, Ishtar of Babylon and many other names. She preceded all of the other gods by perhaps a millennium and was the most powerful of all. She could bring fertility and she could kill by atomizing and scattering her selection to the winds.

The story follows her life as it emerges from her move as one of Artemis’ nymphs as she moves to the modern world where she attends college and enters a modern day life style. She has a spectacular type of beauty that draws her to modelling where she becomes an almost immediate sensation. As time passes, calls for her from all of the top designers become highly competitive, the fashion magazines pay top dollar for her shoots and she becomes an immensely wealthy worldwide sensation, attracts an almost cult-like following of girls and young women, revives the Ancient sacrifices, relabeling as Observances for pack of followers to be performed at the time of the girls’ period so that the shedding of blood was performed as a tribute to her, a gift they could bestow for those provided by her. The story’s breadth expands as more of the old Greek gods are re-awakened from their more than millennium of sleep and how this, along with Timessa’s discovery of Iole, an obscure French fashion designer, affects Timessa’s need for adulation that had mounted to the level described.

Discussion: The Series author might be thought of as somewhat of a Renaissance man in the breadth of his personal activities. He is a man with several degrees, a poet, playwright who also has established a theater, and author but also is involved as a wetlands scientist and hydrologist. His characters and ancient gods are fascinating and, as described in the author’s notes from the first book in the series, their “Sexual hunger, hubris, infatuation – these emanating combined with divine intellect drive the Winnowing’s key characters” and are carried over into this second in the series. Description of the old gods is supplied to the reader as a most helpful addition. It is suggested that reading the first book in the series will avoid a bit of ‘spinning of one’s wheels’ if beginning this volume.

4* 5* tale; -1 for struggle described if not beginning with the series’ first book.

When She Touches

When She Touches ISBN: 9781688985490 assumed published by, copyright and written by Sheryl M. Frazer.

Subtitled “A Discovery of Destiny and a gift Like No Others” this is a novel extending from the mid-1900s to the present. It is an unusual story following Genevieve as she, recipient of abstract dreams beginning in childhood, experiences another informing that she ‘will understand once her daughter is born’. The young, newly married Mrs. Walker thought someday, but right now began recalling the fairy tale like, so wonderfully enjoyable romance and wedding to her most thoughtful and wonderful husband still sleeping beside her. From this moment the reader is taken on a strange journey where the young girl, born to a mother who seemed to want nothing to do with the child, is raised by her adoring grandparents and eventually discovers that she has a strange gift in that she can communicate with a person’s soul. This reviewer believes that providing even one more modicum of information would be a total disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: In spite of occasional minor glitches, this book and its anticipated sequel provide one of the more unique tales this reader has encountered. The plot about ‘a soul reader’ is nowhere even vaguely close to the tawdry image that may come to mind. The characters are engaging, even captivating at times and their interwoven nature intriguing. The pace is excellent and the anticipation set in motion by the idea of a sequel’s plot is one of the most compelling this reader has encountered.

5* If you enjoy the unusual, you will not want to miss this one.

Zipacana’s Legacy

Zipacana’s Legacy Fifth Dimension Books, cover and Interior design by Rick Palmacci, copyright and written by Cindy Davis.

Jade French, a highly successful marketing specialist soon to be promoted to the top position in her California-based company, has received notice that she has inherited a ‘hotel’ in a small town in Mexico. Because she somehow feels that this is where her future lies, she resigns, permanently breaks off with her boyfriend and leaves with close friend Mari Anderson (a totally high maintenance city girl) to move to take possession of the property. They arrive and find the well-designed structure fronted by a large porch heavily overgrown with tangled vines, and other obvious signs of neglect as it has been empty since grandfather’s death. From this point on, the reader embarks upon an intriguing journey where Jade discovers that her birth name was not Jade French, but Jade Sacniete Waempo IX, that her grandfather had been a practitioner and teacher of a form of Shamanism, that her inheritance resulted from her grandfather’s recognition that she was a person with already developed, but unrecognized, understanding of many Shaman powers and that she had arrived to fulfil a predestined position as a prominent leader. The story is a fascinating unfolding of the manner in which Jade gradually learns of her legacy, the trials encountered as her new life gradually opens, her acquisition of new friends as well as inexplicable enemies and ultimate understanding of formerly unanswerable questions relevant to her mother and father.

Discussion/Summary: The author opens with an Author’s note telling the reader that “the spiritual situations that happen to Jade in the story are things that can happen to anyone, Telepathy and self-healing are not fantasies. They are available inside each of us.” She also explains that shamanism has existed for thousands of years and that ancient times the local Shaman was the physician, psychologist and Spiritual Healer to his community. Purportedly shaman are “connected to earth. They are healers of the earth and the human body; intermediaries between our world and the spirit world.” Further, this former 23-year editor and mystery writer, now has been “awakened” and with her “also reformed husband” Rick Palmacci, present “talks on positivity and spirituality” as well as providing “a bi-monthly blog and short stories featuring characters from the Jade series.” She also has provided a well-selected Bibliography of some publications pertinent to the basic subject of the mind/body/spirit and shamanism, Native American Religions of Central and South America and similar thought patterns. In Summary, a truly intriguing story providing captivating features of a subject rarely encountered when perusing reading choices.

5* Highly recommended read for all.

The Guardians of Erum

The Guardians of Erum publishing permitted by UAE’s National Media Council. Permit # MC-01-01-9623856. Book age group: +17 copyright ISBN: 97899483445, and written by “Self-Publisher” A. Ali Hasan, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Sub-titled, ‘and The Calamitous Child of Socotra’, the story’s setting is one of “Arabia’s pre-Islamic history, traditions, religious beliefs, and local culture and folklore” with abundant activity by jinn. Most locations exist in modern-day Oman or Yemen, but Wadi Erum, in which Part One is centered, is a magnificent city which now is believed to be buried under the sand dunes of Rub’ Al Khali Desert. The story line follows a young farmer and his wife who have a male child born under a particular star which indicated he would ruin Wadi Erum and bring other disastrous results to the world. This all set forth by “Behas the saher, deceiver of all weak minds, master of all sorcery. Necromancer and conjurer, alchemist, and lord of the jinnic realm, and widely known as the worst of mankind.” This jinn Master, or master sorcerer, was at one time acclaimed as a hero by saving Wadi Erum, but has fallen into a less credible position with the gigantic rulers of the city and country itself. Thus, his word still is believed by many and he entreats one of his jinn to kill the baby. The jinn is interrupted and killed by a member of another of an opposing group but cannot stop the baby from being kidnapped. The story continues as a desperate concerted effort is initiated by the baby’s father aided by the rulers and guardians of Erum plus others supporting the powerful Gray Mountain Queen who also wants to find the child for her own reasons. Fundamentally, the story becomes a chase provided in three parts. The first covers the area of Wadi Erum and its surroundings. The second moves the action to the coastal area of Salalah. The third continues onto the island of Socotura where a huge battle takes place, and gradually returns to the Wadi Erum area with a finalization of this section of the tale.

Discussion: This is an interesting historical fantasy involving a chase by the father to regain his son kidnapped by a jinn Master who is fundamentally wicked, but controversially considered good by many for an earlier deed that saved the city. There are numerous characters important to the story and they diligently maintain their parts. All maters considered, a book of fantasy, full of the occult that should greatly appeal to the younger members of the YA group. The author’s fascination with the historic folklore of pre-Islamic Arabia is evident and a thread to which he strongly adheres. From this reader’s perspective a cautionary note must be entered, however. With the level of sophistication existent in today’s youth, at least within the United States, it would seem that the level of 17 + or – suggested as the best reading level may be lowered a little for greatest reader enjoyment.

5* For lower level YA readers with suggested caveat reason set forth.

Weight of Shadows

 

Weight of Shadows ISBN: 9781733563123 Mystful Press copyright and written by Ana Domini.

This Dark fantasy is set in a post-Apocalyptic era following a world encompassing pandemic that wiped out an entire generation. Those who survived are immune, sterile and immortal to a degree. A particular group of survivors have been segregated in a large pharmaceutical compound, Wyrmwood Place, some distance outside Washington, D.C. It is the headquarters of the company that was able to manufacture the required vaccine. The compound contains all of the necessary laboratories, professional and support personnel and additional guards, fencing and other necessary features for security. Numbered among the inhabitants are 13 surviving children and 2 women who were discovered to be fertile. This is the story of the children, of Mantis, so named by his ‘friend’ Atticus, and other inhabitants and/or otherwise encountered persons discovered with the help of a fantasy figure as the story unfolds. The plot basically is a fantasy/mystery with psychological undertones that takes many twists and turns.

Discussion: The tale appears to be the product of a somewhat reclusive mystery (?), fantasy (?) author who has presented a rather complicated well-written story that moves at a good pace. The characters are well developed within the context and scenes often sufficiently detailed and well described to offer empathetic credibility. Interesting thoughts, even somewhat emphasized by the characters as set forth by the author, include the fact that death sometimes is a good thing in that it eliminates sadness, fear and pain for those who have lost everything, but that on the other side of grief there are strength and forgiveness, A tangential point offered  is the constant presence of greed and the potential harm it can cause.

Summary: From this reader’s perspective, an interesting, well- written/paced tale regrettably offered at this exact time of today’s unemployment, shortages and controlled social environment resulting from a still uncontrolled world viral situation. Thus, if you are a reader looking for enjoyment or relaxation, this book is NOT for you.

3* 5* well written/paced story; -2* at least for enjoyment/relaxation.