Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: Dropping Out: a tree change novel-in-stories by Danielle de Valera



Genre: Linked Short Stories

Description:

These stories tell episodes in the lives of a number of people who moved to the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia as a result of the Aquarius Festival held in Nimbin in 1973. De Valera moved to the area in 1977. She writes about what brought these people to Murwillumbah, why they stayed, why they left, why they came back again. She draws beautiful pictures of the beauty and the hardships of life in this remote area at a time when almost all its traditional means of making a living were dead or dying. The stories cover 35 years.

And then there is the final story. More of that one anon.

Author:

Danielle de Valera has had a chequered career, raising her family whilst working variously as a botanist, an editor, a cataloguer for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Library and the John Oxley Library, and on the main floor of Arnott’s biscuit factory. She is best known for her short stories, which have appeared in diverse publications including Penthouse, Aurealis and Australian Women’s Weekly. Some of these linked stories were first published in that way. And you can buy several of them as standalones on Kindle.

Appraisal:

I loved these stories. There is a sense of being out of time, in a rugged, basic Narnia which people found, and loved, and then stayed. People flee from it from time to time when the life there gets too hard, but they return as well because it has a siren call. Life in this Narnia has simple attractions. If you have an issue with the law, this is a place to hide. If you ARE the law, and want a change of pace, it’s good too. If you don’t want to pay taxes, or have people telling you what to do, or if you just need some peace, this is the place for you.

If you asked one of your parents to tell you stories of ‘the old days’, each time you’d hear a different story about the people your mum (or dad) was friends with. You’d probably think about what might’ve happened to those people in between stories. In the end you’d come to know the people in the stories really well. So well that you’d ask mum to tell you another story about Star or God or Baby in Murwillumbah. That’s what this book is like. When I finished it, I kept thinking about the characters in it, wondering what they got up to in the interstices when de Valera wasn’t writing about them. I can’t remember the last book that had this effect on me: I shall definitely read it again.

The stories are told with great pace and verve. They are both gritty and poignant. The whole is leavened with wit and humour. (I should tell you I have no idea what a ‘tree change novel’ is.)

The final story is a problem. It is set 120 years in the future, so is out of sync with everything else. I found that hard to adjust to. It is about different characters (unsurprisingly) and isn’t about their descendants either, as far as I can tell (although there is an Azure in the earlier stories and an Azuria in the last one, for reasons I couldn’t unpick). The society it sketches has gaps where more information would have been helpful (eg why were the artificial people created? why the wings?) but does include information dumps about pipe tobacco and bottles of stout. I felt deflated and puzzled by the story. It has cost the book a star, sadly.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Some domestic violence

Format/Typo Issues:

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: Judi Moore

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reprise Review: You Are Not Alone by Leah Carey


Genre: Non-Fiction/Current Events/Culture

Description:

“On May 24, 2014, Twitter exploded with stories of women’s experiences of harassment and assault in their daily lives using the hashtag #YesAllWomen.

With the Twitter conversation as inspiration, 10 women came together to share their stories with each other and the world. They dug within themselves to find wisdom...but they also revealed their own inner conflict about their experiences and their views of the world. They were willing to be vulnerable and admit not only how they have been hurt, but also how they have hurt others.

Through telling our stories - and hearing the stories of others - we learn that there is much more that unites us than divides us. That is the purpose of this book. To remind you: You are not alone.”

Author:

Leah Carey is a journalist, professional speaker, life coach, and author. She conceived of this volume, edited and compiled it, as well as adding her own material to tie it all together.

For more, visit Carey's website or Facebook page.

Appraisal:

The point of this book, on the surface at least, seems clear. Through the stories told the authors can share their experiences (a positive for them, as you’ll see if you read it), and in the process tell other women that You Are Not Alone, another positive in the message of understanding it sends. The clich├ęd win-win.

However, I’m not in the obvious demographic to read this book and would suggest it can be a win-win-win. (Something that Carey recognized as well.) With decades of training and feedback from sisters, spouses, a daughter, and now a granddaughter who is old enough to speak up, I like to think I’m more cognizant of how certain actions or words can be perceived. That it is easy to send a message that is unintended. It is easy to say you see those of both genders as equals, but actions sometimes contradict what you say and consciously believe. Many of these stories, I understood. But others, gave me a different perspective that will hopefully help in the interactions with the important women in my life.

Lest any man think this book is about man bashing, it isn’t. There is a universal recognition among the authors that many of the things discussed are cultural attitudes that, if they are to change, need to be discussed. There is also an understanding (explicitly stated in a few places) that women are also guilty of reinforcing some of these cultural stereotypes. Interspersed through the book are tweets from the original twitter explosion mentioned in the book description.

One of them seems like the ultimate description of how I perceived this book.

I think a lot of people assume the goal of #YesAllWomen is to persuade when really, it's just to explain what so many of us go through.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

A small amount of adult language.

Added for Reprise Review: You Are Not Alone was a Winner in the Non-Fiction category for B&P 2015 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran February 13, 2015

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words        

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: The Vampire, The Handler, And Me by Eileen Sheehan



Genre: Paranormal Romance/New Adult

Description:

“In a romantic triangle of good and bad, it's hard to tell who's good and who's bad. Lizzy Ewing is caught in a romantic triangle between two enemies: the handsome vampire, Nevi, and the hunky supernatural handler, Geoffrey. A supernatural handler herself, Lizzy must choose between Nevi and Geoffrey. One wants to be with her for all the right reasons, one does not. Will she discover who is who before the bad destroys the good?”

Author:

“Eileen Sheehan started out as a freelance writer for periodical magazines and newspapers. From there, she tried her hand at writing screenplays. Her screenplay, When East Meets West was a finalist in the 2001 Independent International Film and Video Festival at Madison Square Gardens, NYC. Finally finding her niche, she lets her imagination loose with new adult/paranormal romance/thrillers (some are steamy and some are tame) with the pen name of Eileen Sheehan… An incurable romantic, she has a love affair with at least one character... one book at a time.”

Appraisal:

The Vampire, The Handler, And Me begins with Lizzy Ewing at what she considers to be an upscale New Year’s Eve party. She discovers she doesn’t fit in with this particular crowd, and the party could not have ended much worse for her that evening. What a way to ring in a new year! I didn’t enjoy all of the over descriptions in this section of the story and it did nothing to move the story forward. The words seemed like filler to bulk up the word count, and I almost set the book aside. However, I pushed on because Ms. Sheehan hadn’t introduced the vampire yet, which is the reason I chose this book to read.

Next, I found myself persevering past editing misses such as extra and wrong words, and word repetitions. However, the unique vampire world managed to suck me in and convinced me to stick with the story. The plot and twists in the storyline makes an interesting read, if you can get beyond the poor editing. I think this book is worth investing in a complete reedit. The characters were well described and fully rounded. However, Lizzy’s first-person point-of-view made her feel weak and indecisive. So, I ended up with mixed feelings about The Vampire, The Handler, And Me. But if you enjoy unique vampire stories, you may enjoy this one.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

Adult situations and language with a few F-bombs.  

Format/Typo Issues:

Several proofing issues such as missing, extra, or wrong words.

Rating: *** Three Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Through Tick & Tinn: The True Story Of The Greatest Unknown Comedy Team Ever Known by Josh Hickman



Genre: Satire

Description:

Say “Martin & Lewis,” they’ll say, “A phenomenon!” Say “Rowan & Martin,” they’ll say, “Laugh-In!” Say “Tick & Tinn,” they’ll say, “You mean the tailors?” Finally, Josh Hickman bravely attempts to right a tragic comedic travesty which has persisted in the annals of entertainment for decades longer than it should have. Unmercifully digging through personal interviews, yellowed press clippings, grainy videotapes, scratchy kinescopes, scratchier comedy albums, and reams of questionable anecdotes, Mr. Hickman has managed to do the unthinkable—to piece together the most coherent portrait possible of the life of one of the last great comedy teams of the era.

Through rifts, marriages, divorces, and an infamous accusation of joke-theft, Jerry Tick and Larry Tinn persevered undaunted, spreading laughter through memorable challenges such as “The Pope Lick Monster” controversy, Jerry’s comedy cult involvement, and facing on live television Hobarth Getz, “The Man Who Couldn’t Laugh.”

Author:

Born in Virginia and raised in Texas, Josh Hickman is now a writer, filmmaker, musician, and artist based in Los Angeles.

Appraisal:

This satirizes celebrity biographies. And does so well. Everything is true, or at least seems like it maybe could be, even when it seems a touch far-fetched. It doesn’t seem any more “out there” than things that are in other celebrity biographies you’ve read or heard about which are said to be true.

One nice touch was the integration of references to things that were happening in real life (if pop culture is real life) through the period covered by the book. There were even a few references to places and things in different cities that, while not something most people would know or care if they were accurate, they were. As far as I could tell everything was true to life except for the part that, by design, wasn’t. (Or maybe Tick and Tinn are real and all of this is the truth.) Kids (those of you under 50 or 60) won’t understand all the references but should still be amused by the humor.

If you’ve read a celebrity bio or two in your life. If you like satire and have been told your sense of humor is a little bit warped. If you like to laugh. This book might be for you. If you’re no longer a kid, that’s even more likely.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

My review is based on an uncorrected advance reader copy. I can’t judge the final product in this area.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Ryan to the Rescue by K. S. Brooks and Mr. Pish



Genre: Children’s Picture Book

 Description:

“Ryan the Corgi was a happy dog -- until his family moved. The dogs at his new school aren't as nice as his old friends were. Some of them are even downright mean to him. Can Ryan learn how to turn the tables on the bullies?”

Author:

K.S. Brooks has been writing for over thirty years. An award-winning author and photographer, she has written more than 30 titles, is currently the administrator for the superblog IndiesUnlimited.com, and is founder of 'Authors for Hurricane Sandy Library Recovery' and the 'Liberty Library' for soldiers and veterans.

Mr. Pish is a curly-haired Jack Russell terrier who has traveled the USA and Canada to spread the word about outdoor learning and literacy. He loves exploring and introducing people to new places they didn't know existed! Mr. Pish has written 10 books, 10 years of calendars, and one app available at iTunes and the Google Play store.”

Appraisal:

Ryan is a young Corgi who will always be small compared to other dogs. He is adorable with his Orphan Annie eyes you can’t help but love him. However he is being picked on because of his size and the new kid at his school. Ryan’s father reminds Ryan of his strengths because he will always be small.

This a cute and smart story that kids will be able to understand and identify with. This book promotes self-worth which needs to be reinforced with all children as they are growing up. Ryan to the Rescue would be an excellent addition to any home or school library.  

This is a Mr. Pish approved book and he gives his endorsement and more helpful tips at the end of the story. There are also several resource links you may find helpful.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

  
FYI:

I read Ryan to the Rescue on my Paperwhite Kindle which is black and shades of gray and white. I imagine young readers would enjoy the story more with a color tablet. There is also a Ryan to the Rescue coloring book for more enjoyment. This is a creative way to help visual learners.

Format/Typo Issues:

I read an ARC version, However, I didn’t notice any issues with proofing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 27 pages

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reprise Review: The Five Faces (The Markhat Files) by Frank Tuttle


Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Detective/ Mystery

Description:

“It starts as a typical day in the park, with Markhat tracking a bully the law won’t touch, and promising a little girl he’ll find her missing dog, name of Cornbread.

But as the sun sets over Rannit, a new menace creeps out with the dark. There’s a killer on the loose, and Markhat the finder suspects magic behind the murders. Each victim receives a grisly drawing depicting the place, time, and manner of death. Not a single victim has escaped the brutal fate drawn for them—and now Markhat’s own death-drawing has arrived.”

Author:

“Frank Tuttle lives and writes in the perpetually humid wilderness of North Mississippi. Frank tried to be a proper Southern author and write about pickups and hound dogs, but trolls and magic kept creeping into his stories, so Frank is a fantasy author. Although hounds do make occasional appearances in his fiction.”

To learn more about Frank Tuttle you can check out his website. However, I suggest following his blog, it is always entertaining.  Of course you may also stalk him on Facebook.

Appraisal:

I have been reading Frank Tuttle’s Markhat books since I got my very first Kindle. He quickly became one of my favorite Indie authors. I love the fantasy world and the quirky characters he has invented for this series. So, I was excited when he submitted The Five Faces to Books and Pals for a review and I jumped on it. Needless to say it didn’t take me long to settle back into Markhat’s magical world, there is a noir feel to the mysteries and Mr. Tuttle has recently employed steampunk in the mix. I love the way Indie authors can play around with genres.

Markhat is a finder, a private investigator, who has a capricious relationship with the local law enforcement of Rannit. The story begins with Markhat looking for a young girl’s stolen dog and quickly escalates into a mystery much more complicated and far reaching than dog theft. The plot moves at a nice pace as it twists into the devastating potential of unraveling the whole universe as human soul theft becomes the theme. With the help of Mama Hog, Granny Knot, Buttercup, Stitches, and Evis, Markhat has to fit the pieces together to save himself and the world as they know it from an evil spirit seeking his own godhood.

Mr. Tuttle has a talent for developing his characters with dialog that I really appreciate. I love the banter and self-deprecating humor that he excels at. I also like the elements from our world that he weaves into his unique fantasy world of human characters along with wand-wavers, undead, trolls, banshees, soothsayers, and vampires.  I am not quite sure what to make of the slilth, but I like what he did with it at the end of the story. I am laughing right along with Stitches. I also have to laugh at the Brown River Bridge clown patrol, they add an interesting touch to Rannit’s unsavory population.

If you enjoy noir detective stories with a human element in a paranormal atmosphere you are bound to enjoy The Five Faces or any of Frank Tuttle’s Markhat series for that matter.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

The Five Faces is book 6 in the Markhat series. I think this book could be read as a standalone, however some character nuances would be missed. I don’t think that would lessen your enjoyment of the story.

Format/Typo Issues:

I found no significant errors in editing or formatting.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count60-65,000 words

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review: A Better Place To Be by David Wind


Genre: Literary Fiction

Description:

“A story about life, though perhaps not the one you would choose to live.
Inspired by the characters from the Harry Chapin song of the same name, A Better Place To Be is a story of love, loss, and the ability to overcome the worst that life can throw at someone and come out the other side.”

Author:

The author of numerous novels in genres ranging from fantasy to mystery and noir, David Wind lives with his wife and pup in Florida.

Appraisal:

As the description and cover make clear, this book is based on the Harry Chapin song of the same name. Yeah, you know, Harry Chapin. The guy who wrote Taxi (no, not the TV thing with Danny DeVito, the song). Don’t know that song? How about Cat’s in the Cradle? I guess mentioning 30,000 Pounds of Bananas or W.O.L.D would be pointless. Potential readers of this book are going to fall into two camps. The kids (okay, middle-aged adults) who have no clue who Harry Chapin is and are clueless about the songs he wrote and sung, and those like me, who can still remember the sick feeling he got 36+ years ago when my brother-in-law told me Harry had died that day in a car crash.

For you kids, Harry Chapin’s pop-folk songs were story songs. His first big hit, Taxi, packed more oomph than an average novel in a touch shy of seven minutes and, despite being twice as long as a typical radio-ready song of the day, it managed to become a hit.

The author received permission to include the lyrics to A Better Place to Be in his book. He does this by using snippets at various points in the story along with including complete lyrics at the end.

For those not familiar with the song, I think you’ll like the book if this is the kind of story you’d normally go for. It’s a good story of a life that goes off the rails and of eventually getting things back on track. After reading it, find the song and give it a listen. I’d guess the odds are good it will remind you of the book.

For those already familiar with the song, all of the above might still apply. Or it might not. I suspect it depends on how you feel about this particular song. Most stories require the reader to fill in the gaps to some degree. A song that tells a story or even one without a story, but that makes some kind of point, requires the listener to fill in even more gaps. I found myself struggling with how the author filled in some of the gaps here, because that’s not what I imagined was going on in those blank spaces. The author’s interpretation wasn’t wrong, just different. If this is one of your favorite songs of all time, my advice would be that you might want to stay away. I’m glad I read this, not only because it is a good story, but also because it got me thinking about these things. Now if someone were to write a book based around some of Chapin’s other songs (Taxi springs to mind) I might steer clear. I guess I’d summarize my thoughts by saying that even though I’d probably be perceived as smackdab in middle of the target audience for this book, that my feelings about it are mixed.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Review: Demon Walk by Melissa Bowersock


Genre: Mystery/Supernatural

Description:

“Private investigator Lacey Fitzpatrick and Navajo medium Sam Firecloud are called in by the Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano to unravel the mystery surrounding an evil presence that is threatening the mission’s people and its liability, maybe its very existence. While Lacey digs into the research, Sam pulls out all the stops, planning to fight fire with fire and witchcraft with… witchcraft. Lacey finds his methods disturbing, but knows they have to combat the ancient, supernatural force that has killed before, and may very well kill again.”

Author:

“Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres: biography, contemporary, western, action, romance, fantasy, paranormal and spiritual. She has been both traditionally and independently published and is a regular contributor to the superblog Indies Unlimited. She lives in a small community in northern Arizona with her husband and an Airedale terrier. She also writes under the pen name Amber Flame.”

Learn more about Ms. Bowersock on her website or follow her on Facebook.

Appraisal:

With Lacey and Sam’s notoriety growing they are contacted by the Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano to investigate the strange happenings going on at their mission. While Lacey looks for connections from the mission’s past, Sam searches the more esoteric connections.

With their combined resources and skills will Lacey and Sam be able to determine the source of the ancient magic they have to face and defeat? Find out as Ms. Bowersock includes more members of Sam’s family and challenges Lacey to believe in herself.

I found Demon Walk enthralling. Ms. Bowersock continues to captivate me with every story she spins. Her secondary characters are strong and make each story well-rounded, which aids in the suspension of disbelief. I highly recommend this series to readers of paranormal mysteries. I guarantee you’ll love Lacey and Sam. I can’t wait to see where their next case takes them.  

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Demon Walk is book six in A LACEY FITZPATRICK and SAM FIRECLOUD MYSYTERY SERIES. Each of these mysteries can be read as a standalone if you choose. However, I am enjoying the relationship developing between Lacey and Sam, so I would recommend reading from the beginning to get the full benefit of their storyline.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.  

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words

Monday, January 29, 2018

Review: Murder By Magic by Meriam Wilhelm


Genre: Cozy Mystery/Paranormal Romance

Description:

The word outsider describes Ola Mae Masters to a T.

Orphaned at the young age of seven and tucked away in a swanky orphanage, run by a group of dismissive nuns, the life of Ola Mae Masters is anything but normal. Especially when she realizes that it’s ghosts she sees walking and talking in the local graveyard. Shunned by her peers for being different, Ola Mae is constantly barraged by the unspoken thoughts and feelings of everyone she meets. But how is that even possible? Alone, confused and longing to be a regular kid, Ola Mae must wait until she grows up to seek her own “normal”.

Degree in hand and on a quest to create a new life for herself, she lands in New Moon Beach and is overjoyed to open her own bookstore – Literally Magic. Things seem to be looking up for the young woman until unexplainable magical abilities start uncontrollably bubbling out of her.

Plagued with fear over what is happening to her, it appears that fate has dropped Ola Mae into a cauldron filled with many more unexpected surprises. Not the least of which is that she’s not really an orphan, but part of a powerful family of witches living in her adopted city. How could she not have recognized that she’s a witch too?

Opening their arms to their sister, the witches of New Moon Beach must help Ola Mae hone her witchy powers and fast. A dark evil has descended on the beach city that threatens to engulf Ola Mae and her newly found family in a maze of murder, magic, and mayhem. And what of the handsome witch and the love he tempts her with? Will she allow this darkness to destroy her chances for a happy ending?

Ola Mae must learn quickly how to use her emerging magical skills if she’s ever going to be able to navigate this maze of death and destruction to save New Moon Beach and the man she’s come to love.

Author:

“After spending over thirty-five years in education I discovered my love for writing and decided that it was time to retire and create my own magical beach city. Modeled after Redondo Beach, California, where I grew up - I’ve had a super time introducing readers to the Merriman community. A family of witches filled with love, magic and adventure, these three sisters and their extended family members are constantly running into one paranormal problem after another.”

Appraisal:

Murder by Magic has a combination that, at least in my experience, is unique. As a general rule, I’d say unique is good. It’s a cozy mystery, but the amateur sleuth involved is a witch. While a cozy will typically involve characters from a tightknit, small community, having this community not only be a small town, but more specifically those residents of the town with magical powers, is a change of pace. Our intrepid detective, Ola Mae Masters, is a witch who just recently found out she is a witch and is still discovering and learning how to use her powers. This only adds to the story, both with some interesting twists to the storyline and some additional tension, both for her and for us as the reader. There might be a budding romance too.

If you enjoy cozy mysteries and paranormal romances that push the boundary of the genre, Murder by Magic would be a good choice. If you like both, it should be a no-brainer.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

While part of a series I haven’t read others in the series and didn’t feel I was 
missing needed back story despite not having read any of the prior installments.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

Friday, January 26, 2018

Reprise Review: The Sun Singer by Malcolm R. Campbell


Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/Coming of Age/Adventure

Description:

Robert Adams is a normal teenager who raises tropical fish, makes money shoveling snow off his neighbors’ sidewalks, gets stuck washing the breakfast dishes, dreads trying to ask girls out on dates and enjoys listening to his grandfather’s tall tales about magic and the western mountains. Yet, Robert is cursed by a raw talent his parents refuse to talk to him about: his dreams show him what others cannot see.

When the family plans a vacation to the Montana high country, Grandfather Elliott tells Robert there’s more to the trip than his parents’ suspect. The mountains hide a hidden world where people the ailing old man no longer remembers need help and dangerous tasks remain unfinished. Thinking that he and his grandfather will visit that world together, Robert promises to help.

On the shore of a mountain lake, Robert steps alone through a doorway into a world at war where magic runs deeper than the glacier-fed rivers. Grandfather Elliott meant to return to this world before his health failed him and now Robert must resurrect a long-suppressed gift to fulfill his promises, uncover old secrets, undo the deeds of his grandfather's foul betrayer, subdue brutal enemy soldiers in battle, and survive the trip home.”

Author:

Malcolm R. Campbell lives in north Georgia and has worked as a corporate communications director, technical writer, and college journalism instructor. He now works as a grant writer for museums and other nonprofit organizations and writes stories.

Appraisal:

As a young boy Robert Adams started having prophetic dreams. Traumatized after seeing the death of a young neighbor girl in a dream and the next morning actually witnessing her death he vowed to suppress this curse. With medication and willpower he succeeded for a few years although it left him feeling empty. On his fifteenth birthday Robert decided to bring back his dreams, with control and without the “Seer’s Prayer.” With the help of his Grandfather Elliott, a dreamspinner, he is making progress.

Grandfather Elliot grew up around Glacier National Park and has convinced Elliot’s parents, Katheryn and Laurence, to take a three week family vacation there this coming summer. Robert is looking forward to backpacking, hiking, and exploring the area since he and Alice, his younger sister, have heard many of grandpa’s adventure stories growing up. As well as folk tales, myths, and legends of other people lost in the mists of time. Grandpa Elliot has an ulterior motive on this family vacation though. Three years ago up high in the mountains things went terribly wrong. Elliot is going to need Roberts help setting things right again. The problem is grandpa is getting weak and forgetful, so he enlists the help from a longtime friend and mountain climbing buddy, to meet them at the lodge during their vacation.

Mr. Campbell used his astute and unfettered imagination to weave this labyrinthine tale full of many different elements seamlessly. The landscape descriptions are dynamic and beautifully written. The matter of where Robert goes and the full blown characters that he meets along the way are all realistically believable. Well, except for perhaps Garth, the wood elf. But he was pure magic and I enjoyed his character immensely. Robert finds himself on his own, learning to navigate this coinciding world, which is exactly like our own, a few hundred years earlier in time. To do that he has to learn to trust his dreams and to listen to his intuition on who to trust. This is a wildly spirited and intelligent adventure story where Robert has to learn to believe in the energies around him for them to flow through him. I enjoyed the messages of extended families and the way things came together at the end. All ages of readers who enjoy mystical adventures, alternate universes, or epic tales will love this story.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

FYI:

The Sun Singer is book 1 of Mountain Journeys

Format/Typo Issues:

I found a small number of proofing errors.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Approximate word count130-135,000 words