The Healer, by Jeffrey G. Roberts

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As I finished reading, I found myself in the thrall of a few conflicted feelings.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author created an astounding world and took on the idea of time travel with a completion that few can. He managed to bring things full circle in a way that made sense, as well as not leaving any obvious loose ends.

The writing style was definitely different and it took a few chapters to get used to. It was direct and to the point. Most of the action was told through dialogue which is something that, when used in the right place, can really amplify a story. However, I felt that in certain places more description was needed. We get a moderate amount of description when it comes to major settings, but that was about it. Without description, the reader also fails to connect with the characters on an emotional level; so while I was drawn to the characters’ stories, I was also able to distance myself when things started going awry.

“The Healer” really is a wonderfully woven tale, and plot is a huge strength of the author. There are certainly some areas to be improved upon, much like any author, but it won’t leave you feeling empty inside.

Buy it here!

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Kings and Pawns, by Zach Beckmann

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This novel reminded me simultaneously of both Friday Night Lights and the Matrix. Not only does it underscore the oft ignored underbelly of sports teams, but it also focuses on the seedy underbelly of a country that has been, quite literally, turned into corporate America. Cronus Enterprises, much like the current state of politics has an iron grip on everything, using the dangerous and exhilarating sport of Breakers Unlimited to keep the population complacent, mindless, and completely under their control.

Beckmann has a knack for excellent action-telling, however it was applied to the majority of the novel and not just where the action scenes were. This made things a little difficult to visualize and you never really got to immerse yourself in the character because you were constantly being told how they felt versus allowing yourself to feel it. Some of the character chemistry was incredibly awkward and a little off-putting at times, but they pull together very well and you find yourself in the midst of a team of individuals who would do anything for each other. From prologue to finish, the story is mired in twists, turns, and (somewhat) cliche outcomes, but for the most part, it actually keeps you guessing–something very rare for a novel nowadays.

The author has also done a wonderful job of creating an entire novel that isn’t too far off from our own, current society. Sure, the setting is in 2083, but realistically, that’s only 69 years from now so it’s frightening to think that we–as gun-toting, revolutionary Americans–could quite possibly end up in a situation very similar. Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it…?

Buy it here!

This Mirror in Me, by Denis Fitzpatrick

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This was a bizarre, different, and yes, sort of boring. But, given the fact that only so much can happen when you’re trying to create an upstanding social gathering in your head, it fits. Regardless, Fitzpatrick manages to create distinct, interesting characters, with the unique backdrop that can only come from seeing the inside of another person’s thought process. The author makes no attempt to hide exactly how things were going to play out, but somehow, it really worked for this novel.

Buy it here!

The Collector, by Terri Wallace

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Short, to-the-point, but incredibly well-written. It’s terrifying to look through the eyes of a child and see the definitive black and white of good and bad with a supernatural flare. Wallace has a brilliant talent for pulling you in and letting so much happen with a few pages. I absolutely loved the way this was executed.

Buy it here!

 

Kindling Ashes, by Laura Harris

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Let me start by saying that a few chapters into the book, I was fearful that it would take the classic formula that a lot of novels seem to take and the two main characters, obviously enemies, would find some common ground on which to fall in love and blah, blah, blah.

How wrong I was. And for that I couldn’t be happier.

Kindling Ashes does a fabulous job of telling the tale of war between two sides, and the feelings of betrayal and anger and helplessness that follow. Instead of coddling her characters, Harris thrashes them and puts them through so much that by the end of the novel, your eyes are misty and your heart aches for them. What brilliant characters they were to be put through the grinder.

It was so refreshing to follow Giselle and Corran through their very unique adventure, making you question your own terms of loyalty, and a wonderful addition to the fantasy genre.

Buy it here!

The Dark Communion, by Joey Ruff

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Brilliantly written, witty, action-packed, and just one of those novels that you can’t put down. Ruff takes you on a heavy emotional ride as Jonothan Swyftt attempts to not only overcome his inner demons, but external ones as well. And by that, I mean literally. Demons, monsters, things that go bump in the night, legends, fables, fairy-tales…The Dark Communion quite possibly touches on it all and everything is so well-researched that you want to think Ruff himself has had some run-ins with these creatures. If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s incredibly difficult to classify this novel in one genre, as it spreads vast wings over several of them; there’s a little something for everyone inside. Pull that together with wonderfully crafted, well-rounded and believable characters, this is a series that has the spark to go incredibly far.

Buy it here!

Vessel of Kali, by Richard Milner

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Taking a blend of the worst, the best, and the most extreme of religious visions, Milner manages to create a terrifying thrill-ride of a society cracking within itself.

And there are more extremists looking to exacerbate that rift between those once closest to each other and prevent the emergence of peace. Milner does it with beautiful detail, wonderful dialogue, and a grasp on characters that helps the reader sympathize with one side or the other, forcing the reader to look at the darkness within themselves.

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Nowhere to Goa, by Doug E. Jones

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Nowhere to Goa takes you on a whirlwind adventure spanning Thailand, India, and various cities wherein. Scott thinks he’s traveling to India just to get his twin brother, Mike, out of jail and bring him home, but events beyond his control throw him into a ‘finding yourself’ tale packed with hilarity, sex, drugs, and beautiful sites. Doug Jones’ representation of these cities and their culture (both good and bad) stems from firsthand knowledge, and it brings credibility and believability into the story.

Remarkably well-written, wonderful characters and some of the wackiest hang-ups in Scott’s mission make this into an entertaining travel novel that evokes the desire to travel and experience these places for yourself.

Bu it here!

Memory Closet, by Ninie Hammon

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Follow Anne as she struggles to regain the bits of her past that she’s lost, and work hard to not question your own sanity as she slowly starts losing hers.

Ninie Hammon created Anne as an identifiable character who is not only trying to overcome something so tragic and traumatic that it erased everything up until she was 11, but she also works to overcome her own social anxieties and shortcomings that we, as people, deal with every day. It’s not all tears and heartache, however, as Anne provides her own bit of comic relief in the telling of her story, but also her endearing grandmother, Bobo. Her quirks and conversations really serve to lighten the mood.

The plot is drip-fed to the reader at critical points, and just when you think you know what’s going on (just like Anne) WHAM, there’s something more to it. The story unfolds like a graceful origami animal that sinks it’s teeth in and doesn’t let go. It starts off slow, but once it gets going, you’d better keep up.

But it here!

Paradise, by Jason K. Lewis

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Paradise is a mysterious place of perfection, stability, and beauty—and what wouldn’t be when the world you live in is dying, overpopulated, and overburdened? John and his family hold out hope that Paradise really is what they believe now that they’ve packed up their lives in order to obtain it. Mysterious administrators leave you questioning what exactly Paradise is, and why it’s such a big deal.

Short, with a lovely writing style, Paradise is the prequel to something bigger. It leaves you on the edge of a thread, dangling, really wanting more. I say bravo with this technique and I can’t wait for the follow-up!

Buy it here!